02/10/2017 06:38 SAST | Updated 02/10/2017 06:38 SAST

'Vigilante' Community Patrol Members Mowed Down By Gangs

Community members are leaving the Cape Town informal settlement in droves following gang violence.


The 11 people killed in the Marikana informal settlement in Cape Town on Friday night are believed to be community safety patrol members, who have attempted to combat crime in the area, The Times reported on Monday.

On Friday, gunmen, believed to be gang members, hunted down 11 members of the patrols and killed them. It is believed that the killings were revenge for the killing of gangsters by vigilantes who were members of the community safety patrols.

Hundreds of community members are reportedly fleeing the area. In the last three weeks alone, 23 people have been killed as a result of gang violence, including the 11 who died on Friday.

Independent Online (IOL) reported on Monday that those who survived Friday's shootings said they survived only because the gang members ran out of ammunition.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk told IOL that the levels of crime in Marikana and the greater Nyanga area indicated that there were too many firearms in the area. He reportedly said that 196 guns were confiscated in September alone, and 218 suspects were arrested.

According to the Cape Times, in previous vigilante killings, three suspected criminals were set alight at the beginning of September, while another suspected criminal was stoned to death days later. Patrollers allegedly killed three suspected robbers that week.

GroundUp reported on Monday that 50 police members were deployed to the area over the weekend, but on Saturday, police were not allowed in the township.

Residents reportedly complained that police knew the names of those involved but did nothing, and that community leaders had told the police about the presence of gangs.

The Western Cape police have placed the area under the supervision of a deputy provincial commissioner who will reportedly be supported by a team of detectives, Tactical Response Team members, intelligence operatives, and other specialist forces.

According to the Social Justice Coalition, the sprawling informal settlement is serviced by just one high mast light.