Statement from the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
The number of children falling prey to gang-affiliated sadists and sexual predators in the Western Cape is an abomination and a severe indictment on the state of progress in South Africa 20 years after the advent of democracy, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said.
As our politicians vie with each other to tell “good stories” about themselves ahead of the general election in May, the reality of life for many families across the Cape Flats is a recurring nightmare.
On Friday night, in Kewtown, 59-year-old Ms Anne Marks and 18-year-old Mr Ebrahim Daniels died following a shootout between rival gangs. In the same incident, three children – aged five, 14 and 16 – sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The previous weekend, five people were killed in Mitchell’s Plain, including 12-year-old Jucinta Matroos and two teenage boys. Last month, a teenage girl was gang raped in Manenberg, allegedly because she lived in an area associated with one gang but walked across a field associated with another.
Gang violence has claimed more than 30 lives so far this year and destroyed many others. It tears deep gashes in our social fabric every day, disrupting the learning of our children, clogging our health facilities, fuelling drug addiction and crime across the region, and adding immeasurably to the struggles of working class and unemployed parents to build better lives for their families.
We must demand of our elected leaders in local, provincial and national government that they stop pointing fingers at each other and use the resources they have at their collective disposal to deliver an environment in which poorer citizens have the opportunities to improve themselves and their circumstances, Archbishop Tutu said.
We must join our hands, across the freeways and the railway lines that divide us, and apologise to God for failing in our duty to protect and nurture the most vulnerable members of our society.
This statement was released for the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation by Oryx Media.