Taxi drivers in a war to root out crime in Khayelitsha
"We decided to intervene and assist the police because we noticed that gangsterism is growing"
MEMBERS of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) in Site C, Khayelitsha, have intensified their crime prevention campaign in the township.
Yesterday morning they cornered 11 school pupils believed to be members of a gang and confiscated their weapons.
Taxi owner and leader of the crime prevention campaign James Tafa said: "We decided to intervene and assist the police in fighting gangsterism in our communities because we noticed that this trend (gangsterism) is growing and that it also affects the schools. This forces some learners to drop out at school."
Tafa said they were working together with various community stakeholders.
"After we catch them we sit down with their parents and find out what prompted the child to get involved in gangsterism and we reconcile the families," Tafa explained.
He stressed that they do not assault the children.
"At the moment we keep these things (the weapons) here in our office while we are collecting others. But we will hand them to the police later," Tafa said.
Members of Codeta were forced into action by the escalating crimes in the area.
Tafa said a scholar was stabbed by gang members on his way home. His back was injured during the attack, he said.
Tafa said they were investigating traditional healers who are giving the gang members muti and they want to interrogate them.
"We've heard that there are traditional healers who give them muti. One is in Site C, Makhaza, and two in town," he said.
"We need all three of them to come and explain why they give children muti.
"But we are still busy with our investigation because we definitely don't want to catch the wrong people."
The gang victim, a learner who was stabbed on his way home, Mpendulo George, 18, said: "I was going with a friend after school. I saw my friend running and when I looked back I saw about four guys opening knives," he said.
"They stabbed me in the back and ran away.
"They accused us of (being) Mavato members (another gang ) because of our hairstyles."
An angry parent, who identified herself as Mambhele, said: "I don't know what these children want, because we (parents) do everything to make them happy.
"I don't know if he (her son) has these things (referring to muti)."
She said she wanted the traditional healers providing the children with muti to be arrested.