Durban — Sydenham leaders have urged police in KwaZulu-Natal to act swiftly on the drug war raging between gangs at the Sydenham Heights block of flats.
The calls from community leaders came after they claimed the flats had fallen into the hands of Cape Town bandits, who were “imported” by local drug lords to help control the area’s drug trade. The three community leaders, who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity, said they felt they should make a call to senior police management to intervene after another daylight shooting incident this week when the two gangs were engaged in a fierce gun battle.
A community leader who saw Monday’s shooting said they felt local police were failing to contain the violence, and that police from outside the area were needed to root out the gangs before the violence became uncontrollable.
He said gang-related violence was rife in the area, and that one alleged drug lord had gone to Cape Town and come back with ‘reinforcements’. He said that since the arrival of the Cape Town gangs, shootings had increased in the area and the police appeared to be failing to contain the violence.
“We want to make a call to the provincial police management to act swiftly and root out gangsterism in these flats. We have received information from residents that many of these gangs were from Cape Town and have taken over, so the community is feeling unsafe,” he said.
Another community activist, who asked not to be named, said the war was about lucrative turf for drugs that both gangs wanted to control at all costs. He said the latest shooting was between the Hard Livings and Sexy Boys gangs from Sydenham Heights blocks A and C.
A woman activist who lives in the area blamed the residents of Sydenham Heights, saying if they wanted to live in a peaceful environment they must speak out against these activities and share information with the police. She, too, called on police management to bring police in from outside the area.
Police provincial spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said no such shooting incident had been reported to the Sydenham police station. She urged community members to report criminal activities before accusing the police of failing to act.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele is expected to address the Youth Crime Indaba at the Olive Convention Centre, in Durban, on Thursday. The indaba, following on from the provincial summit, was held at the same venue earlier this month, which Cele also attended. Police said the meeting was aimed at developing a youth crime-prevention implementation framework in support of the presidential directive “strengthening the relationship between the SAPS and the community as well as the capacitation of community police forums across the country”.