Bishop Lavis woman, 30, dies in cross­fire

New strate­gies needed as gang vi­o­lence spi­rals ‘out of con­trol’

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Marvin Charles

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. –

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