MEDIA STATEMENT: #UniteBehind call for urgent action against violence in Elsies River.
On the eve of the Parliament’s special sitting on femicide and gender-based violence, 1 teen and 3 children, were murdered in Elsies River. 2 women were also injured in the shooting.
According to the recently released crime statistics of 2019, there were 90 murders in Elsies River in the last financial year. This was a jump from 58 murders in 2018. These are only the cases reported to the police. Despite the army being deployed, communities such as this one still live in fear.
In Elsies River children do not sleep at night and go to school with the sounds of bullets ringing in their ears. They are not only fearful for their lives while sitting in classrooms but they are hungry and often suffer bullying at schools and abuse at home. They cannot learn and the push-out (not drop-out) rate from primary and secondary schools in Elsies River destroys the dignity of children and youth.
#UniteBehind has worked in Elsies River since March 2017. Our activists have not only actively organised against state capture but started rebuilding the community of Elsies River in a small way. Our activists risk their lives by working in some of the most dangerous areas in Cape Town.
#UniteBehind has built women’s and youth organisations, soccer and netball clubs, established reading classes around two primary schools and soup kitchens. At the same time, #UniteBehind in Elsies River has campaigned against the City of Cape Town’s dire neglect and destruction of the sense of community.
The army cannot solve these problems and the murders last night demonstrate that it is the failure of SAPS to predict and prevent gang violence through evidence-based policing. The army is not a long-term solution to the problems faced in some of Cape Town’s communities. It is still not clear what the mandate of the army is.
#UniteBehind echoes the call of our affiliate, the Social Justice Coalition, on the need to redistribute police resources to address the current neglect of areas such as Elsies River. Police must be in the areas where they are needed the most. Five years after the Khayelitsha Commission, none of the recommendations have been implemented by the government.
All levels of government but particularly the City of Cape Town are responsible for creating ghettos. Ghettos they are still creating with their so-called “temporary relocation areas”
We must fundamentally alter our patriarchal cultures, individual behavior and political culture through knowledge, radical action and community power.
#UniteBehind in Elsies River will be having a silent protest for peace and against all forms of violence on Tuesday September 24. The action aims to highlight the issues faced by the community of Elsies River.
For more information or comment contact June Esau at 076 584 9917 or Tameron January on 065 877 9664
#UniteBehind is a coalition of people’s movements joined by legal, policy and research organisations working for a just and equal society where the people share in the country’s wealth and our environment is protected for future generations.