Too many innocent lives lost

A cross for each of those slain in gang violence or crime in Ocean View. Picture: Alistair Berg

The two men accused of killing 7-year-old Emaan Solomons will appear in court tomorrow for a bail application.

Eben Basson, 27, and Chivargo Frederick, 20, are facing charges of murder, for the killing of Emaan, and attempted murder, for the wounding of a man.

They appeared before Magistrate Lutfie van Rhodie in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday February 28 and were remanded in custody until their bail application.

According to provincial police spokeswoman, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, the two accused are suspected gang members.

Emaan was shot in her chest and hand in the yard of her Libra Street home on Tuesday night February 25. Her killing lit a tinder box of rage in a neighbourhood that has seen countless gang-related killings.

Indeed, on the same night Emaan was killed, the body of 31-year-old Abdullah Ellis was found in a shack in a field in Andromeda Way. He had apparently been shot earlier that morning. According to Ocean View police spokesman, Sergeant Leon Fortuin, Mr Frederick was arrested by the Anti Gang Unit – he turned 20 shortly afterwards – while Mr Basson handed himself in. He said both men were believed to be members of the Junky Funky Kids gang.

On Wednesday night, several homes were torched in the neighbourhood, reportedly because of their links to drug dealers and crime.

According to City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse, Kommetjie Road and Fish Hoek fire brigades responded to a fire in Apollo Way and another in Scorpio Road. The Simon’s Town brigade responded under police escort.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said firefighters had later been advised to stay out of the area as it had become extremely volatile.

An Ocean View resident said the house torched in Scorpio Road was called “Ghost Town”, and known for being a tik den and fencing stolen goods.

The resident said houses in Alpha Street, Libra Street and Apollo Street, in an area known as “Hungry Hills”, had also been burnt down and the area had become a “war zone”.

Junky Funky Kids gang members had threatened to burn down the mosque in retaliation, said the resident.

Emaan’s janazah (funeral) was held on Thursday February 27, and on Sunday, the community held a memorial service and placed white crosses to mark all the innocent lives lost.

By Monday the crosses had been vandalised and some had been stolen in what residents suspect was an act of retaliation by gangsters.

A spokesperson for the Solomons family described Emaan as the kind of child who always cheered others up if they were having a bad day.

She said the little girl had loved creating new hairstyles for herself and friends and had always been a happy child.

“We are dumbstruck at her loss,” she said.

Emaan’s murder, she said, was an act of cowardice and an attack on innocence.

She hopes those responsible for Emaan’s death will be put away for a long time so the family don’t have to fear them getting out one day.

She thanked the community for their support, saying everyone in the area knew it could just as easily have been their child.

She said that in Ocean View, like all communities facing a similar scourge, the gangsters were a minority, and the community had now bonded together and taken a stand to show them their behaviour was not welcome.

“We outnumber them, and we are fed up with the killing of our innocents,” she said.

Asked if she believed it could change, she said: “In Islamic religion, Emaan means faith. I think that speaks for itself.”