PEACE: Julia Thomas marches in Bishop Lavis. Photo: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice
The community of Bishop Lavis took to the streets on Tuesday morning along with hundreds of school children to protest against gang violence.

The pupils picketed inside the Nooitgedacht Primary School along the fence.

Led by the Bishop Lavis Action Campaign (BLAC), about 200 angry, distraught and grieving residents marched down Heilbot Road onto Olyfberg Road, accompanied by one police van and six members of the Public Order Police.

The community stopped outside the school, where the children begged for a safer community, saying they are traumatised by the constant death and violence around them.

Posters reading “Hou Op Skiet”, “Enough is Enough” and “We want Peace” were held up as the protesters marched.

FUTURE: March for kids. Photo: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice

According to BLAC spokesman, Victor Altensteadt, people are getting increasingly disgruntled by the lack of attention the area is getting from authorities.

“The violence in the area has reached a peak. We have 20 innocent people killed in Bishop Lavis since January,” said Altensteadt.

“The latest deaths being the two mothers from Kalksteenfontein over the weekend and the four shot on Sunday, of which two are dead.

“This community is in crisis. We need the Cape Flats to be declared a disaster area.

Video: Saafia February/Daily Voice

“Our children are traumatised. The school has requested our assistance to get counselling for the children.

“The fact that we cannot be safe in our own areas is a crisis in itself and the government needs to get up and do something.”

Altensteadt says the lack of policing resources plays a major role in safety in the area.

On Monday, Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, announced that 100 Law Enforcement and Metro Police officers will be stationed exclusively in this area soon.

PROTEST: Residents march in the streets of Bishop Lavis. Photo: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice

This after additional funds were given to the department by Mayor Dan Plato, and they will now pump R32 million into Bishop Lavis, Valhalla Park and Bonteheuwel for the expansion of the Neighbourhood Safety Teams (NST).

But Altensteadt says they want a permanent SAPS Tactical Response Unit stationed in Lavis to stem the tide of gang violence.

Joining the peaceful march was Sylvia Johnson, still emotional after her grandson Keaton, 16, was shot and killed on Sunday.

“These men need to pay for what they do to our children. This will never end unless the community and the police work together to rid us of these evil people,” the distraught ouma said.

Video: Saafia February/Daily Voice

An emotional Julia Thomas, 60, walked in front, shouting for peace.

“They were innocent children just having a doppie,” she shouted, referring to Sunday’s incident.

“They never caused trouble. I am so angry, but also I am hurt because the murderers live among us and they don’t care who they hurt,” the aunty said, crying.

PLACARDS: People against violence. Photo: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice

Altensteadt says on 20 February, Blac will march to Parliament, and on 20 March they will “shut down the entire cluster from Langa to Lavis”.

“Our communities must come. There is work to be done. We need to mobilise,” he added.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the march ended peacefully and no incidents were reported.

[email protected]