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Gangs disrupt schooling

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Gangs disrupt schooling

by Laverne de Vries
31 Jan 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

A week into the new school year, a resurgence in gang-related violence is forcing some parents to remove their children from schools in Hanover Park for fear of their lives.

Speaking to People's Post, Belmor Primary School's acting principal, Carol Poole, says a mother recently withdrew her traumatised son from the school.

"The gang violence affected him so badly that she decided he needed to be in a safer area, so she sent him to her sister in Atlantis and he now attends school there," Poole says.

Poole says the school has a group of teachers who act as counsellors to deal with the children who are exposed to gang-related incidents.

"The best measure we can take is to keep the children in school. We don't send them home when the gangs start shooting because we believe it is safer to keep them inside. But we did have a scary incident last week when people started shooting just as the school closed and children were crossing the road. Fortunately parents ran up and fled with their children."

In the latest incident, a man was shot on Thursday, 25 January at about 20:00. Police report that a man known as "Abie" was shot in the shoulder.

The man, believed to be an Americans gangster, allegedly refused to cooperate with the police and said he would "sort matters out himself". He is also believed to have had a pivotal role in starting the gang-related shootings last year, as police sources believe he shot the first Ghetto Kid gangster - which sparked a rash of revenge attacks.

Commenting on the issue, Philippi Police spokesperson Inspector Etienne Conradie says the community needs to assist in dealing with the violence.

"We had a case where there was a shooting incident near Summit Primary School last week but when we got there, no shooters were in sight and no-one was prepared to make a statement. We urge the community to help us identify the criminals in a bid to decrease the gang violence."

Conradie adds that the police have been approached by school principals who have requested visible police patrols around the schools.

"The school principals feel that the high incidence of violence has negatively affected the children's results so they have asked us to step up patrols to ensure the teachers and pupils safety," he explains.

Meanwhile, schools in Manenberg are plagued with similar problems.

A daily newspaper reports that more than 80 shots were fired near Red River Primary School on 22 January.

The Cape Argus report says that six men were shot last week. The shootings follow the killing of Ashraf Davids, who is believed to have been a Hard Livings gangster.

Although Philippi Police officers believe the Hanover Park shootings result from battles over drug turf, the newspaper states that Manenberg residents believe shootings between the Americans and the Hard Livings have intensified in a bid to create complications in the pending bail application of former Hard Livings leader Rashied Staggie.

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