Mother apologises to mother after shooting
Cape Town - The mother of a fugitive teen involved in a gang shooting in which a Hanover Park child was wounded has handed her son over to police.
She also begged the girl’s mother for forgiveness, as hundreds of residents of the neighbourhood listened, at an imbizo on Monday night arranged by the police.
“I want to say I’m very sorry for what my son did. It was wrong and he must be punished,” Angelique Johnson told the girl’s mother, Louise van Wyk, who has been her neighbour and close friend for many years.
“I took him to police. I want to say to Louise I’m so very sorry.”
The two mothers wept and embraced.
Grade 1 pupil Leeane van Wyk, six, was caught in crossfire and wounded in the head. She remains in a critical but stable condition in intensive care at Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Leeane and a friend, Liam Davids, seven, were caught in the crossfire as they played outside their John Down Walk homes on Saturday.
Liam received a flesh wound to the neck. He was treated and discharged.
Johnson said on Monday night she knew her son Fernando, 18, had been involved in the shooting. She was one of several residents who spoke at the public meeting, convened in John Down Walk between blocks of flats to discuss the shooting.
“We have been friends for years. I feel I want to apologise to for what happened because it is my son who was involved,” Johnson said as she struggled with her emotions.
Van Wyk said she had been horrified when she realised her daughter was wounded.
“When I came out of the house I saw Valentino carrying her. I can’t take it any more,” a tearful Van Wyk said. “Doctors said they removed a piece of lead from her skull. There is still a lot of swelling.”
Two suspects were arrested and two firearms seized shortly after the shooting. Police shot and wounded another suspect on Monday afternoon after he had opened fire on them, said Jeremy Vearey, the police cluster commander for Hanover Park and surrounding areas.
In a clear message that gangs would not be tolerated, Vearey told about 400 people at the meeting that police would confront gangsters on the streets and in their homes. Listing a number of alleged gang leaders by names, such as Ses, Mailie and Sheigh, Vearey said police would rid Hanover Park of the Mongrels and Ghetto Kids gangs.
“We will work you out. This is the warning. These streets, these flats and these courts do not belong to a Mongrel or a Ghetto. They belong to the people. I will walk with the people on the streets. You will not live in luxury on the blood of our people. This is the message.”
Several residents complained about police behaviour during raids and said officers swore at them and at times carried out searches without warrants.
“If they want us to work with them, then they must respect us,” resident Francina Poolvan said.
Police deputy provincial commissioner Peter Jacobs said: “There are times we have to tough. If we offended people’s rights, people can lodge complaints. The officers are specially trained to deal with gangsters. We must not violate people’s rights, but we must be firm.”