On Monday, Dr Mgcini Tshwaku, Johannesburg’s recently appointed MMC for public safety, visited the Westbury community following a spate of gang violence that resulted in the deaths of two young individuals over the weekend. According to reports, 13 people fell victim to violence in the 96 hours following the death of Keenan Sheldon Ebrahim, the Fast Guns boss who was killed last Thursday as reported by IOL.
The shootings occurred in Extension 3, an area known for gang-related crimes and violence, from Friday to Monday morning in six separate incidents, some just minutes apart. Upon meeting with community members, Tshwaku was taken aback by their reports of inadequate police support and limited regional visibility.
“I met with the Westbury community in Eldorado today because they are experiencing gunshots and loss of lives. It’s been reported that SAPS Sophiatown is not responding. When will we take action? How long will our communities live in fear?
They have requested Operation #ManjeNamhlanje and a stability plan,” he stated. The violence has left many residents in fear of more attacks, and some have questioned why the police haven’t done more to address the issue. Tshwaku noted that the people in the area feel helpless and hopeless in the face of ongoing gun violence. He added that Eldorado, Westbury, and Newlands people feel helpless as they witness their loved ones dying.
“But don’t worry, help is on the way with #ManjeNamhlanje. They are questioning whether their race is the reason for the lack of assistance. They are asking why SAPS and JMPD aren’t working together to meet their urgent needs,” he said.
As per the police, the shootings in the Westbury community are believed to be connected to gang activities. The Varados and the Fast Guns, two rival gangs, have been at war since killing two people who were suspected to be gang leaders some weeks ago.
Sources have reported that the violence is related to the drug trade in the area. It is further noted that the gang territories are divided by Kretzschmar Street, with the east side belonging to the Varados and the west to the Fast Guns.