Trauma norm in Ocean View

KAREN KOTZE and MICHELLE SAFFER

There have been three more murders in Ocean View. Three more reasons for children to be gripped with anxiety, and suffer from nightmares.

Three more reasons – among many others – for counselling, in a community which is reeling from various, desperate needs, says Johann Kikillus of Soteria Ministries.

Captain Angie Latchman of the Winberg cluster under which Ocean View falls confirmed that on Friday, April 29, a 25-year-old man was sitting in front of Lupine Court in Pollux Way in Ocean View, when an unknown man walked by and fired two shots, fatally wounding him.

The motive for the shooting is not known.

The suspect fled from the scene. No arrests have been made yet, but the case is still being investigated. The suspect was dressed in dark clothing and his face was covered.

In a similar incident the very next day, on Saturday, April 30, there was another murder in Swallow Street, Ocean View.

Police arrived on the scene at 8.26pm to find the body of an 18-year-old man, lying in an open field.

The man had apparently received a telephone call at home to meet someone. He immediately left to attend the meeting, but never returned home.

Captain Latchman said the suspect – and the motive for this shooting – are also unknown.

There were also reports that Ocean View resident Clinton Jenkins was the latest person to have died in the area, in an incident this past weekend This was confirmed by Mr Kikillus as well as Kathy Cronje of the Ocean View Community Police Forum who said Mr Jenkins had been stabbed, but by the time this edition went to print, police had not yet confirmed the incident.

Mr Jenkins worked at Pick * Pay in Longbeach Mall. Jarett van Vuuren, general manager of Pick * Pay Western Cape, said they were saddened to hear of the death of one of their employees.

“Mr Jenkins was a popular member of staff, and the management and staff of Longbeach Mall send their heartfelt condolences to his family,” said Mr Van Vuuren.

“Every week a mother is burying somebody,” said an Ocean View resident and mother of school-going children, who asked not to be identified, as she said she and the community were living in fear.

“We go to work, we go to church, we go home. The children can’t play because they are shooting randomly. I make sure I get back from work in time to fetch my children from the bus stop.

“I am so scared to even send them to the shop. At first they were shooting at night, now at any time of the day. My children had just come in from the street and 10 minutes later they shot a guy down the road. I can’t keep my children inside all the time.

“My children say, ‘Mommy, do they not care about us?’ It’s hard if those higher up don’t listen to us.”

She said she had counted more than 21 murders this year. She said none had been solved and the mothers of those killed were still waiting for closure.

She said there seemed not to be enough police and claimed that when they were called, police did not arrive.

“To us it seems that no one is interested.”

On Saturday December 5, newlyweds Shannon and Leonardo Fortune, both 31, were gunned down, along with their friend Kim Roberts.

On Sunday, February 14, at about 2am, police responded to reports of a shooting at an open field in Scorpio Road. When they arrived on the scene police discovered the bodies of two men and one woman. All three had sustained gunshot wounds to the head.

At the time, SAPS said the motive for the shootings appeared to be gang-related.

On Saturday December 5, newlyweds Shannon and Leonardo Fortune, both 31, were gunned down, along with their friend Kim Roberts.

In response to media queries at the time, Captain Latchman had said that Ocean View had not been declared a gang area. She did, however, say that there had been an influx of sporadic gang-related shootings in the area.

“The SAPS does have strategy in place to deal with firearm-related crime, in the form of High Density Crime Prevention Operations and Crime Intelligence Driven Operations,” she said.

Soteria Ministries was launched in 2013 and is based in Ocean View in Cape Town. The ministry offers assistance anywhere they are called to. In this instance, counselling is being provided to the children and bereaved in Ocean View.

“One of our main focuses is to speak at schools across the Western Cape to educate minors on issues related to sex, pregnancy, relationships, abuse and addiction. We offer this service free of charge,” said Mr Kikillus.

Mr Kikillus says there have been a number of shootings in the past few weeks – several murders, and several attempted murders.

“With regards to the shooting in Pollux Way, we have been counselling several minors who are related to the deceased. As with all the other shootings, I am finding that children in Ocean View are severely traumatised – can’t sleep at night, have nightmares, flashbacks and are unable to focus on their school work,” he said.

“Earlier this year when I spoke to Grade 7s from both primary schools about the shootings, they all told me that they were struggling with fear and anxiety. Most of them were constantly worrying about the safety of their families and were too scared to visit friends or youth groups. The younger children are unable to fully comprehend what is going on and in many cases are acting out violently.”

He says one thing is clear – Ocean View residents are struggling with the murders and shootings.

“It is not normal for any community to have to deal with such violence. I have also sat with a number of mothers in particular, of murdered individuals. These ladies are suffering terribly. Most of them are now having to look after the children of the deceased, and this puts a tremendous burden on them.”

He said there are also certain areas which have seen more shootings than others. “There needs to be more visible policing in these areas to keep people safe. Police know exactly where these hotspots are.”

Marti Weddepohl of MercyNet, who is also the chairperson of the Far South Peninsula Civic Forum, said Ocean View most needs an effective justice cluster.

“What Ocean View needs most is a combination of factors to create effective change: we need effective policing, followed by a sharp prosecution process, and good communication when known dangerous offenders are released on bail,” she said.

Ms Weddepohl said an effective anti-drug programme was also essential, and that parents needed to educate their children about the reality of drug abuse.

Anyone with information regarding either of the April weekend shootings is urged to make contact with Investigating Officer Detective Warrant Officer Muller, at SAPS Ocean View on 021 783 8318 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.