Bishop Lavis woman, 30, dies in crossfire
New strategies needed as gang violence spirals ‘out of control’
GANG violence in Bishop Lavis is spiralling out of control with almost daily reports of shootings. In the latest incident, a 30-year-old woman was killed after being caught in the crossfire of rival gangs.
Chrissandra Opperman was shot in the head soon after returning from a church youth trip. She was shot outside her home in Kreefgat, Bishop Lavis, at 6pm on Saturday.
Opperman was a youth leader at the New Apostolic Church, Golden Gate Congregation in Netreg.
“She was a very smart, young and beautiful person. She had a beautiful soul. It’s just a sad situation,” Ward 50 Bonteheuwel Councillor Angus Mckenzie said.
“We have had a lot of fatalities since the beginning of August. It’s been quite hard but police have been maintaining a very strong presence in the area,” Community Policing Forum chairperson Graham Lindhorst said. “We are working on getting everyone involved such as stakeholders, schools and businesses to help us to deal with gangsterism.”
Last week MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato paid a visit to the area. “Mr Plato did a walk through, but we feel that this won’t help; we need solutions and tangible solutions to help deal with gangsterism,” Lindhorst said.
In a separate incident in Bishop Lavis, the SA Police Service and law enforcement officers, received information that abalone was being kept at a premises on the corner of Netreg and Oleander Road.
Abalone valued at R8 million was found in the home.
During the operation, officers were attacked with stones by gang members and, at a later stage, shots were fired at police.
“In this process, a 44-year-old man was fatally wounded. The community started burning tyres, closing off the bridge at Robert Sobukwe, between Bonteheuwel and Netreg, then they also closed off Valhalla Drive throwing stones at passing cars,” police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary portfolio committee on police will receive a briefing from the police and the directorate for priority crime investigation, The Hawks, regarding anti-gang strategies and the progress that has been made by the newly established unit dealing with illegal firearms.
The committee has been calling for intensified anti-gang and illegal gun strategies from police specifically focusing on the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZuluNatal.
“We have too many incidents, especially on the Cape Flats, where young children are the victims of intra-gang strife. We need to strengthen the multi-pronged approach to deal with the circulation of illegal firearms and the sources of the illegal firearms that are used in carrying out violent crimes,” chairperson of the portfolio committee on police Francois Beukman said.
Tomorrow’s meeting will give committee members an opportunity to interrogate and propose additions to the strategies tabled by the police and the Hawks.
“The need to strengthen community relations in areas affected by gangsters is a big task, and more resources should be made available to the Crime Intelligence division to increase their footprint in the affected areas,” Beukman added. –