‘Kraaifontein has become a wicked place’

Melanie Brown died in hospital after she was shot twice in the back.

Melanie Brown’s family want justice after the 26-year-old mother of two small boys was killed in what is believed to have been a gang-related shooting.

Her mother believes the bullets that killed her daughter were meant for a gangster who was standing near her at the time.

“It was not meant to be for her,” said Sophie Stuurman said. “It was meant for him.”

Melanie was shot in the back twice, and was admitted to hospital on Sunday April 9. She died on Sunday April 22.

The bullets had injured her spine and even if she had survived she would have been quadriplegic, said her aunt, Marlene Francis.

“She was a lovely daughter and she was taken so tragically,” Ms Stuurman said.

Melanie was her only daughter. She is survived by her sons, who are 6 and 3. “Yesterday he asked, ‘Where’s my Melanie?’,” Ms Stuurman said of the youngest.

Melanie’s family described her as a people’s person. “She made friends easily and people liked her,” Ms Francis said. “She was an open person and she was very clever.”

The Rastafarian community have painted a graffiti mural in Aandblom Street in honour of Melanie, just around the bend from her home.

“I cried when I saw it,” Ms Stuurman said. But while the family are touched by the gesture, they are also angry. “We want justice,” Ms Francis said.

Bessie Brown, another of Melanie’s aunts, said: “Where will it end? What will happen next? They get shot and the murderers just get away. Die polisie doen absoluut boggerol en ons leef in vrees.

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“Ons kinders moet toegesluit word. Ons is te bang om ons se kinders winkel toe te stuur. En ons kry nooit closure nie.”

Kraaifontein Community Police Forum chairman Mawethu Sila said gang violence was rife in Scottsville.

“Every weekend, every day, there is loss of life in Kraaifontein. We can’t allow that to happen,” he said.

Mr Sila said police had arrested a man for Melanie’s murder on Tuesday April 25. Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut, said the man had appeared in court on Friday April 28, the same day as Melanie’s funeral.

The Northern News asked Mr Sila what the police and CPF were doing to combat gangsterism.

He said they were educating the community “in their spare time and through the media” to come forward with information about crime. But according to Melanie’s family, residents were informing police about gang and drug activities.

“Mense wys vir hulle waar die guns is, waar die drugs is, maar hulle doen niks,” Ms Brown said. “En as mense vir hulle informasie gee, hulle noem jou naam, hulle hanteer dit nie vertroulik nie.”

Ms Brown said residents had no faith in the police. “Hulle kan nie mense blame as hulle nie wil voor kom nie.”

Her husband, Pastor William Brown, echoed her sentiments. “Dit is hulle plug om die wortel uit te roei, maar hulle doen nie hulle werk nie,” he said.

“Jy kry goeie poliesie maar die meerste is fraudulent. Ons het nie meer vertroue in die poliesie nie,” Ms Francis said.

According to Tygerberg CPF cluster chairperson Leslie Ashton, there is a anti-gang unit operating in Kraaifontein but she is unsure of how active it is.

“There is a serious problem in this area, in all areas really but especially in this area,” she said.

On Facebook, the Northern News found a Scottsdene Anti-Gang Unit Facebook page, the profile picture of which was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It, had last been updated in 2014.

When the Northern News sent the page’s admin a message, there was no response.

The news of Melanie’s death was also posted on the Western Cape Gangwatch Facebook page last week where it was met with a flurry of sympathetic and angry responses. Diana Adelaide Wagner Munden commented: “RIP sweet angel. Condolences to the family. Kraaifontein has become a wicked place. Our children are robbed of their future by other children. We need to take hands and stand firm.”