Moms march for their murdered children

“I am sick and tired of this. I have no faith in police. I have been failed time and time again.”

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Photo of moms marching
Cape Flats moms march to Parliament over children killed in gang violence. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Tofeegka Jabaar from Hanover Park has lost three of her children in gang-related violence. Last month, one of her twin sons was shot dead. “He was shot in the chest. A suspect was arrested a few weeks after, but was released again. I am sick and tired of this. I have no faith in police. I have been failed time and time again,” she said.

Jabaar joined about 20 other women who braved the rain and cold to march from the Grand Parade in Cape Town’s CBD to Parliament on Tuesday to raise awareness about the ongoing killing of young men in Cape Flats gang violence.

The women belong to the Alcardo Andrews Foundation (AAF) which was started to provide support for mothers in Cape Town who have lost their sons in gang violence. They believe that the government and police have not done enough to curb gang violence.

Jabaar told GroundUp that her loss began ten years ago when her daughter was hit by a stray bullet during gang crossfire. “Till this day no one has been arrested,” she said. Four years later, another daughter disappeared. “The suspect who was the last one seen with her is still on the loose,” she said.

AAF founder Avril Andrews says she started the foundation after her son was murdered when he chased someone who had robbed their neighbour in October 2015. “We started with a support group. It is about moms who can’t get closure because [our children’s] cases are not being dealt with properly,” she said.

“There are cases that are withdrawn, cases where dockets are thrown out. We are not happy with that. We want women out there to know what [we] are going through … The problem is mainly gang violence,” said Andrews.

On Tuesday, the group held up placards saying: “Children are killed daily” while others held posters with photographs of their murdered sons.

Lesley Wyngaard, who lives in Southfield, said her son was murdered while with friends in Mitchells Plain in November 2015. “He was shot in the back of his head. He died 20 minutes later after the bullet went right through his head and penetrated his brain,” she said.

Mary Claasen, from Hanover Park said that she would caution people against moving into Hanover Park because of its high crime rate. “Gang violence has become a norm. Even when you see a body on the street, it’s not a big deal and once the body is taken away, that person is long forgotten. It is gun shots every day, robberies, break-ins, car theft, drugs, prostitution, that is Hanover Park,” she said.

Claasen’s son was killed in January 2013 after he was shot 13 times just two doors away from his home. “A man was arrested for the murder and is currently serving life, but I still do not know what happened and why he was killed. My son was not a gangster but he was friends with a lot of boys in the area.”

After the march, the group had a memorandum for the South African Police Service and another for the Western Cape Justice Department. However, none of the representatives were present. Some of the main points in the memorandums called for: explanations of court proceedings; no withdrawal of murder cases or bail to alleged perpetrators; a functional victim support unit or trauma room; monthly progress meetings; misplaced or lost dockets be retrieved and duplicated with detailed feedback provided to families.

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TOPICS:  Gangs

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