Behind Cape Town’s white picket fence façade lies a black hole of corrupt police and interminable gangsterism
Dear DM168 readers,
On 17 October one of the members of South Africa’s judiciary stuck his neck out and in a judgement warned of alleged police corruption linked to hitmen, the taxi industry and gangsters in the Western Cape.
Judge Daniel Thulare’s unprecedented judgment, delivered in the Western Cape high court, revealed how rotten cops — right up to the upper echelons of power — collude with murderous drug lords and gangs, risking the lives of prosecutors and state figures who are clamping down on gangsters.
Daily Maverick crime reporter and author Caryn Dolley sent me a WhatsApp this week saying her phone has been beyond busy about really unsettling details, which have hitherto not been published, from this judgement and I did not hesitate to say “Yes, please let’s do it for DM168 this week”.
The details are truly unnerving and speak to the heart of darkness that makes Cape Town one of the most violent cities in the world.
While many locals from my neck of the woods in Gauteng leave the big smoke for the chocolate-box idyll of Table Mountain and False Bay, the surrounding Hex River mountains and Winelands, the reality that lies in the underbelly of our Mother City is much more malevolent.
Gangs have been a part of the inner city since before World War 2, but they became more violent and lethal after the forced removals of the 1960s to the barren Cape Flats.
My parents lived in the then low-income inner-city areas of Salt River and Woodstock from the 1930s to the 1950s and I recall the stories they told us about gangsters who hung out at the bioscope but were very protective and would not let anyone touch the kids from their streets.
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I lived in Cape Town in the late eighties and early nineties when I studied for a Higher Education Diploma at UCT and later taught at schools in Khayelitsha and Steenberg, near Lavender Hill.
I saw first-hand how young boys boxed in concrete courtyards with nothing to do, surrounded by violence and the echo of gunshots and screams everywhere, joined gangs and the drug trade for a sense of security, belonging, identity, purpose and income. ...