While police celebrated the 58-year jail sentence the Cape Town High Court handed down to double murderer Ashley Adams on Wednesday‚ Manenberg community activists responded with numb indifference.
Ashley shot and killed 16-year-old Claude Peters and 30-year-old Ashley Arendse in Lillian Court‚ Manenberg‚ on 20 November 2016 in what was reported to be a gang-related shooting.
Die Son reported at the time that on the day Peters and Arendse were killed‚ two other youngsters were killed on the Cape Flats‚ including 12-year-old Jason Booysen‚ who was struck in the head by a stray bullet from a gang fight while returning home from a shop.
Peters and Arendse became part of Manenberg’s horrific statistics. In 2016 there were 60 murders and 130 attempted murders‚ according to Crime Stats SA.
The precinct‚ however‚ did not even make it into Cape Town’s top ten worst in terms of murder‚ notwithstanding the near daily shootings in the area.
Outspoken community activist and leader of Proudly Manenberg‚ Mario Wanza‚ questioned the effectiveness of lengthy sentences for the rehabilitation of individuals.
“We need to look at the root cause behind why people are killing each other and why people are getting 58 years imprisonment. Is that 58-year sentence meant to rehabilitate the person? How does it contribute to bringing about positive change in your community?”
He said that the community needed to take ownership of the situation in Manenberg‚ and that they needed to participate in community processes.
“At the moment we have a government who is thinking for us‚” he said.
Community activist and Manenberg resident Owen Munroe said that he could not specifically recall the incident “because there have been so many gang fights in between”.
“I have a daughter and she’s 11-years-old‚ and that’s always in the back of my mind. Is my daughter safe? She’s always by my side by her mother’s side‚” he said.
But children are not always innocent victims‚ sometimes they are also the targets as they are recruited as members of warring gangs.
Munroe‚ who also works for the department of community safety‚ said that Lillians Court was well known gang territory.
“One killing is too much but the bulk of people who are shot and killed are gangsters‚ you will get innocent people who are shot and killed in the crossfire‚ it’s lucky that more people aren’t killed the way these gangsters shoot‚” said Munroe.
“They just shoot willy nilly‚ any place‚ any time‚ like they were shooting in Lillian Court. I think they targeted maybe one person and three or four innocent persons were shot‚” he said referring to a separate incident in the same area.
Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said that Adams’ accomplice will go on trial in October.
“Manenberg detectives assigned to the case pursued every avenue until the two suspects were apprehended. Adams was sentenced to 25 years for each murder‚ five years for the illegal possession of firearm and three years for the illegal possession of ammunition‚” he said.
Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula said the Manenberg community will be safer with Adams “serving his jail time”.
He also commended the detectives and the prosecuting team.