Pa­gad motorcade tar­gets city deal­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER warda.meyer@inl.co.za

ANTI- gang­ster­ism and drug group Pa­gad has turned to fear and scare tac­tics, with mem­bers rac­ing through the streets of Bel­gravia Es­tate and Ron­de­bosch East with hoot­ers blast­ing and fire­works thrown, in a bid to sin­gle out al­leged drug deal­ers in the area.

And they say they’ll con­tinue their ef­forts through­out Ra­madaan in the wake of a del­uge of calls from fran­tic par­ents wor­ried about their chil­dren’s safety dur­ing the school hol­i­days. Dur­ing their first motorcade this week, they left a huge buzz in their wake as they passed sev­eral al­leged drug out­lets.

The po­lice kept a close watch as two sus­pected drug deal­ers, one in Bel­gravia Es­tate and an­other in Ron­de­bosch East, were warned ver­bally to stop their il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

A petrol bomb was thrown at a Ron­de­bosch East house. While po­lice on the scene said min­i­mal dam­age was done, a big black burn mark was vis­i­ble on the paving in front of the house.

Cu­ri­ous neigh­bours ran from their homes af­ter re­port­edly hear­ing loud hoot­ers, sev­eral loud bangs and peo­ple shout­ing warn­ings such as “we know you are smug­gling”.

Res­i­dents were un­able to pin­point whether the in­ci­dent oc­curred be­fore the con­voy passed, but sev­eral peo­ple said they saw fire­works be­ing thrown. “We’ve never had any­thing like this in our area. The only noise we hear is the coun­cil truck mak­ing its rounds,” one res­i­dent com­plained.

Po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Fred­er­ick van Wyk said a case of ar­son was opened for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but no ar­rests had been made.

He said the in­ci­dent oc­curred a few min­utes be­fore the motorcade ar­rived, “there­fore the in­di­vid­u­als in the motorcade could not have been re­spon­si­ble for the at­tack”.

He added that the motorcade had been mon­i­tored by the po­lice.

Pa­gad national chair­man Ab­dus-Salaam Ebrahim de­nied any in­volve­ment in the at­tack, say­ing only that the or­gan­isa- tion was step­ping up its cam­paign dur­ing the fast.

“Drug deal­ing and gang­ster­ism do not stop be­cause it’s Ra­madaan. Bad things are still hap­pen­ing – chil­dren as young as 12 are still do­ing drugs, teenage girls are still pros­ti­tut­ing them­selves to sus­tain their drug ad­dic­tion, and our streets are stained with the tears of the mothers who are bat­tling to free their chil­dren from the clutches of drugs,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Ebrahim, the idea be­hind the car con­voy came af­ter sev­eral par­ents, mostly mothers, ap­proached Pa­gad to in­ter­vene and help their chil­dren.

“Pa­gad is show­ing the drug mer­chants that they are not afraid to go to their homes, that we know where they are do­ing their il­le­gal busi­ness, and that we know what they are do­ing to the youth and com­mu­ni­ties on the Cape Flats,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, the area known as the Vlei in Bel­gravia had be­come a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem, with chil­dren flock­ing to the area to buy drugs.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also com­plained about the po­lice pres­ence dur­ing the motorcade.

“This un­nec­es­sary show of heavy po­lice pres­ence at Pa­gad’s motorcade is a clear in­di­ca­tion that the govern­ment is not se­ri­ous about erad­i­cat­ing the scourge of gang­ster­ism and drugs from our com­mu­ni­ties,” the or­gan­i­sa­tion said.

PIC­TURE: LEON MULLER

OUT IN FORCE: Pa­gad national chair­man Ab­dus-Salaam Ebrahim talks to other mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion who joined a night cav­al­cade past the homes of al­leged drug deal­ers in Bel­gravia Es­tate and Ron­de­bosch East this week.

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