Trigger warning: 13 people killed as Cape Town reels from bloody week of shootings

  • Thirteen people were killed in a bloody week of shootings across Cape Town, stretching from Steenberg to Camps Bay and Vrygrond. 
  • At least two of the shootings left taxi drivers dead, with alleged gangsters killed in others.
  • Police have fanned out to investigate, and the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement officers are keeping a close watch on Camps Bay.

It was a bloody week of shootings in Cape Town, with bodies dropping in Camps Bay, Steenberg and Vrygrond, leaving residents shocked as the first “normal” holiday season since the Covid-19 lockdown draws near.

The latest was a shooting in Steenberg, on the road to Muizenberg, where two men were killed in a black Mercedes-Benz in broad daylight, and four were injured.

News24’s sister publication, People’s Post, reported that the men killed in Thursday’s shooting were understood to have been high-ranking 27s gang members on their way to Kraaifontein after a visit to Pollsmoor Prison.

Police retrieved at least 30 cartridges from the scene.

In February 2021, William “Red” Stevens, on bail with with others in connection with the murder of international steroid smuggler Brian Wainstein, was shot dead in Kraaifontein.

Police spokesperson, Captain Frederick van Wyk, said Thursday’s shooting was at about 11:45 on Prince George Drive, and the victims were understood to be between 33 and 37 years old.

Pictures circulating from the scene showed bullet holes in the Mercedes and one person in a Nike top shot in the head. The neighbourhood would have been bustling as it is school holidays.

READ | Taxi association mourns loss of driver killed in Camps Bay shooting

Van Wyk said the police were investigating the possibility of it being linked to a gang, and the Anti-Gang Unit was investigating.

Meanwhile, the famous beach and restaurant strip in Camps Bay was rocked by a shooting on Wednesday afternoon, which the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) thinks was due to a taxi route dispute.

Police were called out to a shooting at 15:40 in Victoria Road and found a man shot dead. Close by, they found another man, also dead. The shooters fled. Investigations were continuing.

Theories that the shooting was related to the conflict in the taxi industry were confirmed by Cata public relations officer Mkululeko Sityebi, who said one of their affiliate drivers from the Hout Bay Taxi Association (HBTA) was killed.

He said another driver from HBTA was critically wounded and taken to hospital, and a third victim who had no links to the industry, was killed as gunshots rang out.

Sityebi told News24 that there was some rivalry about which taxis could service the route between Camps Bay and the Cape Town CBD since only MyCiTi buses were legally permitted to use the route.

Camps Bay beach strip where people were shot

The scene where two people were killed in Camps Bay.

Further afield in Vrygrond, near Muizenberg, a series of shootings unfolded over a number of days, starting last Friday night and ending on Sunday, leaving several people dead.

Vrygrond is a suburb near Muizenberg on the opposite side of Cape Town to Camps Bay and, according to the Western Cape police, a staggering nine people were shot dead there. It is not far from Lavender Hill, which has also been hit by gun violence.

Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said extra forces had been deployed to the area to quell the violence and they would stay there until police were satisfied that calm had been restored.

SA National Taxi Council public relations officer Makhosandile Tumana told News24 that the shootings were linked to an inexplicable skirmish by the Junky Funky Kids (JFK), a gang which operates in Vrygrond.

He said urgent talks between the taxi operators in Vrygrond and the JFKs were facilitated through a neutral party.

He said two taxi drivers and a “gaardjie” (conductor), and members of the JFKs were among the dead.

“We were so surprised,” he said.

He continued:

Usually, when the gangs have a problem with the taxis, they talk to us. They were stoning our vans. They made us feel as though they were fighting with us.

However, when he was speaking on Thursday, he felt that peace had been restored.

Swartbooi said three people had been arrested in connection with the shootings, but further details were not immediately available.

Ward councillor Mandy Marr told News24 there was generally no gang warfare in Vrygrond because there was only one gang.

The series of shootings is thought to have been sparked by the murder of a gang leader in Fish Hoek, although further details of that were not known either.

It is also not clear whether these shootings were in any way connected to the murder of the late Rashied Staggie’s son, Abdullah Boonzaaier, and an 11-year-old child in Beatrix Court in Manenberg in September.

READ | Lavender Hill residents on edge as prominent gang boss set to be buried

Staggie, the once-powerful leader of the Hard Livings gang, was assassinated in Salt River, Cape Town, almost three years ago.

The Western Cape government is lobbying for the devolution of policing responsibility to the province, arguing that it was well-placed to deal with the province’s unique issues.

Despite the ongoing shootings, the police have been chipping away and making arrests not just for gang-related matters and illegal possession of firearms.

Police officers cordon off residential street in n

Police officers at a crime scene in Steenberg, Cape Town.

But the spate of shootings seemed widespread after a shooting in Westbury, Johannesburg, left one person dead and another injured on Tuesday, in what police suspect was drug related.

Police also appeared to be getting a grip on extortion shootings that were terrorising Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Nyanga, following a string of arrests, including that of the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, Yanga Nyalara, a teacher-turned-taxi owner from the Eastern Cape. But the flaring up of gang violence will stretch them to their limits.

The Muizenberg police spent almost the whole of last weekend attending to all of the Vrygrond shootings, including going to a medical facility where a bullet-riddled body was brought in.

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The Western Cape High Court is currently hearing a number of gang-related murder cases, with one being held in camera to protect the witnesses who are testifying. In that case, the alleged leader of the Terrible Josters from Delft is among the accused on trial.

On Monday, two self-confessed gangsters and a getaway driver pleaded guilty to murdering an alleged Hard Livings leader in retaliation for the murder of one of their own in a gang called the Vikings. One was given a 30-year jail sentence, but this does not appear to have had any effect on quelling the violence.

In the meantime, police operations to flush out guns continue, with daily reports of firearms seized.

One of the latest was the discovery of an imitation firearm and dangerous weapons on a group of people who raised the police’s suspicions outside the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. Five people were arrested.

Authorities have urged anyone with information that can help with their investigations into these shootings to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.