An apparent gang turf war in Scottsdene, Scottsville and Wallacedene has once again claimed the lives of Scottsdene High School pupils.
In just four weeks, Scottsdene High School has held four memorial services for pupils who have tragically lost their lives.
Asher Hartzenburg, 18, who was a Grade 12 pupil, was shot in Buitensingel Street on April 8 (“Matric pupil gunned down”, April 11, Northern News.)
Lecesia Lodewyck, a 14-year-old Grade 9 pupil was killed in a car crash on Botfontein Road on April 16 (“Girls killed on Botfontein Road”, April 25, Northern News.)
Then last Tuesday, April 24, Wiehan Fortuin, 19, a Grade 12 pupil, and Behanco Fredericks, 18, in Grade 10, were both gunned down in Scottsdene in separate incidents.
Wiehan leaves behind a three-month-old daughter. He had been shot in Park Avenue around 6.30pm.
His father Willem Fortuin said he and his wife were watching 7de Laan when Wiehan’s girlfriend called to say he had been killed.
Mr Fortuin said Wiehan only visited his daughter on weekends and would tell them when he was leaving home, “but this time was different and strange”.
He said they rushed to the scene and on arrival, police officers were visible and the family was not allowed to see the body.
“I asked the cop what had happened and he said my boy was shot through the back and the bullet travelled to his heart.”
Mr Fortuin said Wiehan was not a gangster and was well known in the community as a DJ.
“Wiehan loved music, his music system and speakers are still standing in his room,” said Mr Fortuin, who described Wiehan as a “handsome and gentlemen-like boy.”
Natasha Fredericks, Behanco’s mother, was too distraught to speak to Northern News.
However, his aunt who lives with the family, Athen Visagie, spoke on her behalf.
She said Behanco was on his way from the shop to a friend in Impala Street around 8pm when he was shot.
Apparently two armed men approached him and told him to lift up the hood of his tracksuit top. They asked him if he was a gangster and before he could answer, he was shot several times in the chest.
“He collapsed in front of his friends’ gate and died there,” said Ms Visagie.
She said Behanco was a quiet boy who had a sense of humour.
“He was a lovely, quiet boy. When you see him he would tell you jokes.”
Scottsdene High School principal, Peter Links, who is only in his first term as school principal, said he was saddened by the death of so many pupils in such a short time.
He said Behanco and Wiehan were obedient pupils.
Community worker, Peter Syster, encouraged residents to join the Community Police Forum (CPF) to create safer communities.
He said the daily incidents of gang-related crime are of particular concern and in recent months many innocent people have been killed.
“Gunshots are ringing through the air almost every day in Scottsdene and surrounding areas. The issues of gang violence are very serious and it must stop now. As a community we all have a role to play in creating safer communities and members of the community are encouraged to join the local CPF.”
Kraaifontein CPF chairperson, Mawethu Sila, said they condemn gang and crime activities.
He said the community should take a stand and speak up against social ills but “not take the law into their own hands”.
“The community must become more active. Many areas do not have a neighbourhood watch established and the CPF is putting plans in place to get this function running.”
He said sector commanders are being introduced to areas which experience high crime levels and the communities will be invited to sub-forum meetings where they will be able to meet the sector commanders and build a trusting relationship with them.
“Our doors are open 24 hours a day, people can call any time and we will be there to help,” said Mr Sila.
Kraaifontein SAPS did not respond to media enquiries from Northern News after emails were sent on Thursday April 26 and Monday May 1.