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When will it all end?

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When will it all end?

by Nurene Jassiem
06 Feb 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Nearly a month after gang violence resurfaced in the Manenberg area, sources People's Post spoke to say the conflict could continue indefinitely, but they have differing views about what the underlying causes of the violence are.

By the end of January, five people had been killed and 13 cases of attempted murder had been reported relating to the gang war between the Americans and Hard Livings (HLs) gangs.

And police sources People's Post spoke to predict the violence will only stop once revenge attacks have been carried out.
According to the police, the Americans gang has a "hit list" of people to kill.

The police believe the violence is as a result of six of the Americans gang members breaking away in 2005. It is suspected that the six members who defected started dealing drugs on their own and that the Americans wanted in on the deals.

Police also believe that, since the defection, some of the former American gangsters joined the HLs. Four of these have subsequently been killed by hit men, police say.

Investigations into the underlying causes for the violence reveal that the gang war goes bigger than just the defection.
Although the gang war is being financed largely by the "drug business" it has been "over-simplified" by mainstream media as being a just a drug war, says independent criminologist Irvin Kinnes.

"This fight is about controlling the Western Cape. It's all about turf, control and prestige," says Kinnes, who has worked closely with the Manenberg community for many years.
There is a direct link between the increasing crime-rate and the gang war, he says.

"Winning the gang war is all about who can replenish their resources the quickest and who is prepared to kill the most people from the rival gang."

"In order to do this they need stolen vehicles to use in drive-by shootings, money to pay the guys who do the hits for them and food to feed the people who hoard their arms and ammunition."
"They also need money to buy bullets, and guns and the drug economy feeds this," Kinnes says.

He points out that housebreakings also increase due to the demand for stolen guns.

It is also believed that, although the majority of the incidents have taken place in Manenberg, the violence is not necessarily limited to this area.

"Whoever is the protagonist in this war 'imports' members from other areas who can go behind the lines and carry out the execution orders on rivals because the gangsters in the area don't recognise them.
"The majority of those killed are targeted killings, and very few of those killed or injured in the war have no links to the gangs and are innocent bystanders," he says.

Both Kinnes and the police believe the war could go on indefinitely, as is the case in Hanover Park currently.
The point of mediation between the two groups has not yet been reached.

"At this stage one of the gangs is prepared to talk, but the other is not interested in mediation," says Kinnes. "This will go on until whichever party is prepared to kill more and is able to replenish their resources the quickest, wins the war," he says.

The Manenberg SAPS have run daily operations in collaboration with the Area Crime Combating Unit and the Metro Police. They have had 10 vehicles patrolling the area at any given time and the number of patrols doubles over weekends. But policing is not the only tool needed to stop the violence. Kinnes believes the community also has an important role to play. "The way forward is to get the community involved and create a climate for community structures. When a community does not tolerate crime and violence, it makes it more difficult for gangs to operate."

Police in Manenberg have identified the following as "red areas" where people should proceed with caution: Red River Walk, Thames Avenue and Thames Walk, Manenberg Avenue, Swakop Road, Renoster Walk and Lilian Court.

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