Cape Town – where eight people are murdered a day – BBC News

They were all shot in the head. And this guy
standing there is one of those gangster guys that shot him. Here he is standing at the
back of you. “His last words were, “Mommy, I love you.” You just see the police vans and it could
be anyone, even a member of your family. If I had to be on that scene, I would’ve
been emotional. Seeing five dead bodies touches you to the core. But that’s not the whole story, for me it’s
about the people and the ripple effect the violence has on the community. We’re telling the tale of one massacre – and
the families involved. Our story starts here, when one cold night
in June three gunmen scaled this wall. Their target was inside this shack, in an
area called Blikkiesdorp. When the shooting finally stopped
15-year-old Mogamad Qiyaam Petersen, Erik Alak Maarman, Ismail Suma Mohamed, Elton Greeneyes
van Rooyen and Method Phaes Ndege aka Toddie – a drug dealer originally from Tanzanzia
– were dead. Actually, they came for him, because of business
in Blikkiesdorp because he made more money than anyone else in Blikkiesdorp. As I was
told, that they went in, they shot him and they came out and the time they came out,
they turned around again and went back in and shot everyone else dead. And this guy
standing there is one of those gangster guys who shot him. Here’s he is standing at the
back of you. VC: Do you want to go? Do you want to leave? Stop this. I’m not feeling fine here, we
can finish up at another place. A reminder that danger hides behind every
corner here. VC: And you actually heard the gunshots from
your house? I heard it, it was going like (clap, clap),
it was going like wood banging against each other. Because it was in the face seven times. VC: They shot him in the face seven times? In the head. Only here, no other place but
in the face. No other place just there only. And everyone else was shot in the head. VC: Do you miss him? I do really miss him a lot but I am actually
now at that stage, he’s gone really now. He’s no more back, he’s not coming back. Ok, you guys go left, we are going to go right. Just open the gate, man. Open the gate. The metropolitan police’s law enforcement
officers are out on patrol in a dangerous part of Cape Town. Is that him constable? Yes, him. During the weekend we were filming three policemen
were shot – one died. So, they’ve just found a gun in one of the
houses, the cops saw guys jumping over fences in an attempt to get away and it seems like
they’ve just arrested some of them. They’re still looking for two more of the guys. That’s a big weapon. That is how they penetrate
our bullet-proofs. It can penetrate your bullet-proofs? I believe so yes, if he’s close enough.
You saw that’s a big rifle. Is that sort of weapon something you would
normally find? No, normally you find handguns but that’s
a big weapon I’m also quite shocked. Vauldi, this is my thinking, if I get one gun off
the street I’m saving hundreds of lives. One gun, that’s how many cars, how many
hijackings, how many murders, how many armed robberies did we now prevent with that big
gun? So, getting one firearm off the street really puts a dent in crime prevention. So
that’s almost like half the battle won. Now we just need more and more and more. It’s a never-ending story, man. You killed
my dad, I will kill you. You killed my brother, I will kill you. I call it the coloured curse,
because everyone is willing to pick up a knife or a gun to avenge someone else’s death
that was either close to them or a relative. Somehow somewhere it needs to stop. I want people to know this not only my child.
It could’ve been anyone’s child. Mohamat Qiyaam Petersen was 15-years-old when
he was killed in the Blikkiesdorp massacre. VC: What would you say to his killers? To his killers, I won’t be able to forgive
them, that’s one thing. Not the way the I’m feeling now at this moment, I won’t
be able to forgive them. The violence has got more and more there and
the children are not safe in that place, truly. They’re not safe in the park, they can’t
even play in the streets because it’s getting worse and worse and worse there. It’s not supposed to be like that. If you’re not even safe in your own house, how can you
be safe outside?” His last words were: Mommy, I love you. Erik Alak Maarman made a living scavenging
through the rubbish with his mom. This really can’t be healthy when you’re
walking in dumps like this among the rubbish. Yeah, sometimes I get sick. It must be dangerous. Sometimes. On the Thursday I missed him a lot and on
the Friday one of his friends came to take a bath and then I asked him, “didn’t you
see Erik?” He told me, “didn’t you hear Aunty Myrie?
That five guys that were shot there, Alak was one of them.” I said, “it can’t
be,” and I cried and I said, “no Alak, it can’t be true, you didn’t deserve to
die like this.” It’s a very traumatising experience.
Imagine we are about six of us, they shoot one, I’m sure you’re panicking to death
because of an escape but you can’t. There’s nowhere to go and these guys are serious.
They mean business. Blikkiesdorp wasn’t the only recent mass
murder in Cape Town. The family of two of the six women killed
here are preparing for their funerals. Painting over bullet marks in the walls, covering
up the blood. Out of fear the killers could come back they’ve
asked us to hide their identities. VC: How many bullet holes were around here? There were only three but the others were
on their bodies. The other thing, they were all shot in the head. Not the body, you see. VC: Do you think they’ll come back and try
and find you? Could be possible… VC: Do you live in fear? Of course…” To try ease this fear, soldiers have now been
deployed. Look as a South African seeing the army on
the streets it’s very unusual, it’s not something that happens often and it does invoke
memories of Apartheid when the country was a security state. But at the same time, I
can understand how people would feel safer with armed soldiers as opposed to just ordinary
policemen. The gangsters invaded the place, killing people,
robbing people, raping people all those kinds of stuff. The army can’t be everywhere, so residents
of Blikkiesdorp are taking the law in their own hands.
They formed a vigilante group called the Boeties. Now the area’s become synonymous with mob
justice. VC: So, what do you to prevent the murders,
the rapes? It’s when I take the sticks and go straight
to the gangsters and fight back. We don’t want these things to happen but
if somebody fights with me with a gun or whatever we are going to fight back. The boeties was
essentially here for protecting the community not for fighting but for protecting. VC: What do you think will stop the killing
in Blikkiesdorp? What do you think it will take? The police must come here 24/7. Soldiers and
law enforcement. Especially law enforcement. The infamous Blikkiesdorp. This is Blikkiesdorp. Just by sheer coincidence we are back where
our story began. I wasn’t on duty that day but I heard about
the killings. VC: They say it was a bloodbath. Yes, a massacre if you will. A massacre. If I find anything illegal, I will arrest
you, OK? Since the murders of Qiyaam, Erik, Suma, Elton
and Toddie there’ve been more police deployed to the area. If I had to have been on that scene I would
have been emotional. Seeing five dead bodies. One dead body is alright. Not alright but
you get used to it. But five. Yoh. And then the next day I only came on duty. We found
a lady just a few metres on Symphony Way, she was shot in the face, seven times. Another victim’s family has to say goodbye. With a murder rate this high, funerals around here seem never-ending. Qiyaam’s mother, Shiyaam, hopes she won’t
have to bury another son. After the murder the family had to leave Blikkiesdorp
too and now they’re hoping for a fresh start. Because they still small. There’s still
a whole life to look forward to I’m going try be a better parent. That’s the
main thing, it must come from me. I know violence is everywhere but at least I will do my bit
because I already lost one son and I don’t want to lose another. there was another 25 murders in Cape Town.

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