At­lantis ‘gatvol of the sense­less killings’ by gangs

Fa­ther of three lat­est vic­tim in on­go­ing turf war

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROBIN ADAMS

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.”

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

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.

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