Witness gunned down in Gelvandale in suspected gang hit

BY ZANDISIWE POLTIN - NOVEMBER 20, 2015

A 30 year-old man was killed on Friday morning in an alleged gang-related shooting in Beetlestone Road, opposite Papenkuil Primary School in Gelvandale, in Port Elizabeth. The incident took place at about 10 am.

According to the statement issued by Bobby Stevenson, Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Safety and Security, he was informed by his colleague, Edmund van Vuuren (MPL), that the victim was a potential witness in a gang-related murder case.

An RNews reader, only identifed as Muhammad, said that one other person was wounded in the shooting and that a total of about six shots were fired at the victims.

RNews could not independently verify this information at the time of publishing. We will update this article as soon as get confirmation from the police.

Strict code of silence

Several people have lost their lives over the past number of years in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas when they came forward to testify against organised operating gangs in the area.

The gangs reportedly thrive by contracting residents, especially the poor, to hide evidence, drugs and illegal firearms in their homes.

Strict obedience and silence is often enforced by a mixture of patronage, intimidation and, when all fails, murders.

In several instances, even prosecutors and policemen have been threatened. Gang members have also been known to patrol local courts to intimidate potential witnesses.

DA says drastic action needed in Northern Areas

“The culture of lawlessness, which is continuing to escalate in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth needs to be stopped. The fact that this took place in close proximity of a primary school is exposing children to violence at a young age,” Stevenson said.

“The DA believes we need effective witness protection programmes that safeguard witnesses.  Crime intelligence capability needs to be drastically improved in the Northern Areas and a specialist national anti-gang unit needs to be reintroduced.

“Drastic action must to be taken by the SAPS to restore a climate of safety and security in the Northern Areas.”

Image: Scene of the shooting. Supplied by RNews reader - Mohammad