Atlantis ‘gatvol of the senseless killings’ by gangs
Father of three latest victim in ongoing turf war
RESIDENTS of Atlantis are on edge as the ongoing turf war between rival gangs, the Terribles and the Horribles, escalates.
Father-of-three Brent Kruger, 32, on Wednesday became the latest victim killed in the crossfire.
Kruger, a New Apostolic deacon and barber, had dropped his daughter Skyler, 4, at crèche in Robinvale when his car was trapped in a gun fight and he was shot. He crashed and died.
He is survived by his widow Renei and daughters Brenei, 13, Cassidy, 11, and Skyler.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said four suspects, aged between 14 and 18, were arrested.
Residents complain of regular shoot-outs in Atlantis. “I am truly gatvol (fed up) of all the senseless killings. Enough is enough. It’s time we put pressure on the elected (officials) to make Atlantis safe again,” said Shelvine Erasmus from Saxonsea.
“And if the elected can’t give the people what we demand then we must elect a person who will, and who can put the needs of Atlantis before the needs of his or her own.”
Barbara Rass, DA ward councillor and community activist, said there were four murders in Atlantis in the last two weeks, but that “not all of them are due to gang violence”.
Asked for a total of recent deaths related to gang violence in Atlantis, Van Wyk referred Weekend Argus to SAPS’s website, but the latest data dates to 2016. An article in a community newspaper reported the death toll at 16 in the six months ending in April.
Rass said police should be investigating “who is supplying guns to the children”, adding: “Police should work with the community, not isolate them.
“They (police) never give a progress report. It can’t go on like this.”
Kruger’s friends and family are struggling with his death. They described him as having had a “magic touch” with a hair-cutting machine.
“I am absolutely heartbroken,” said his sister Ezra Cerf. “He was my only sibling and we always had a love-hate relationship.
“I would complain to my friends about him, but they were not allowed to say anything bad back. I loved him with all my heart.
“Whenever I needed him, he was always 200% there for me. I have no idea how I am going to recover from this.”
The Krugers would have celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Renei was devastated.
“I am very, very broken. I can’t explain. He was such a loving man, he was the best father,” Renei said.
“If he ever made a mistake, he would do everything to correct it. I was blessed with the world’s best husband.”
She identified her husband’s body at the Salt River mortuary yesterday.
Two suspects have appeared in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on charges related to Kruger’s murder. Their case has been postponed to June 28.
The upsurge of gang-related violence in Atlantis is of concern to the community as the gangsters are teenagers.
Waldy Kastoor, the principal of Parkview Primary and vice-chairman of the Atlantis Principals Forum, said: “We had a meeting on Thursday to address this issue. Parents are also worried.
“The religious leaders and the principals ( in Atlantis) want to see how we can work together to address social issues.”
Kastoor said that youngsters look up to gangsters in the area as role models: “Some of these (older) guys use these young guys because of their age. I suspect they (children) are being used as drug and gun-runners because of their age.”
Melvin Losper, the Safe Schools co-ordinator and principal at Protea Park Primary, said a committee of commun- ity representatives, politicians and educators would “look at ways of addressing gangsterism in Atlantis”.
“We are looking at the kids’ involvement with the gangs. Lots of them come from single- parent homes. Kids are looking for a sense of belonging,” Losper said.
“These youngsters are feeders to the bigger gangs – the Americans, the 26s and 27s.”
A new initiative, Game Changer, could steer vulnerable youth in Atlantis away from gangsterism.
Losper said the project, with the City of Cape Town and social workers, encouraged pupils to join after-school cultural and sports programmes.
“It’s a comprehensive approach. We look at health, social and safety issues. We link them (the school pupils) with a group of people to help them get involved with something positive,” he said.
“The whole idea is to push them into positive things.
“We also need to look at – is there food at home? Game Changer provides food after school.”
Losper said three pupils at Protea Park Primary belong to the Horribles. They were 10, 13 and 14 years old.
“What we did was have the (church) pastors talk to them, mentor them. At this point it helps. You need to constantly work with the parents too,” he said.
“What also helps is to constantly call in the children, constantly talk to them, see how they’re doing. So they can see someone is interested in their lives.”
Rass said interventions like Game Changer could help reduce gangsterism. She encouraged parents to also do their part in the community. “It is a collective effort. Parents need to keep their hands on their children.”
Brent Kruger, 32, died in his car after he was caught in the crossfire between rivals gangs in Atlantis on Wednesday.
Kruger with his wife Renei, their daughter Cassidy and their niece Ava Cerf.