Two warring gangs in Mitchells Plain have made peace for the sake of the community.
Members of the Schoolboys and Americans gangs shook hands at Cedar High School in Rocklands on Tuesday, ending weeks of violence that claimed the lives of at least 10 people in the area.
In the latest incident on Sunday, Westridge High School matriculant Wade Arends, 18, and Imraan Gafieldien, 24, were gunned down in Arabian Street.
Police arrested two suspects, aged 18 and 24.
The peace meeting was organised by Pastor Mark Mini, 34, from Rocklands, who says the community was gatvol of being “prisoners in their own homes”.
“We called this meeting because we as a community can’t cope with all the shooting between these gangsters. We’ve had 10 deaths in just four days, I had to do something,” he says.
“It became nearly impossible for our matriculants to focus and concentrate on their finals.
The gathering of gangsters was a joint initiative facilitated by SAPS and CPF (Community Policing Forum).
Scores of residents made their way to the school to witness the “peace talks”.
Each gang was represented by five members and the meeting was held in a closed classroom with no media, police or community members allowed in.
Gang leaders agreed to lay down arms and apologise to the community and everyone affected by the shootings.
Pastor Mark says they are satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
“We’re very happy as it’s a step in the right direction. Last time we had this initiative, it brought peace for five years with no gang wars,” he says.
But Shanaaz Linders, 36, who was shot while she slept next to her daughter in their bed in Stork street, says she’s not ready to forgive.
Shanaaz, who lost her left leg due to the injury on October 13, says her gangster brother was the intended target.
“The guy who shot me broke my room window at 5.45am and aimed the gun at my brother’s head,” she explains.
“My brother was sleeping on the floor and my leg was shielding him because I slept with my leg up.”
“I was hit in my left thigh, if the bullet exited my leg, it would have hit him in the head.”
The mom adds: “I don’t believe peace was made, my attacker stood there at the meeting but didn’t even apologise to me.”
Her daughter Miska Linders now refuses to sleep in the room for fear of another shooting.
“I sleep out a lot just to avoid sleeping in that room, I’m scared,” says the 20-year-old.