Cape Town – Following the murder of an ANC volunteer in Valhalla Park who spoke out against gangsterism, fears are growing for other vocal community activists in crime-ridden area.
Cynthia Stoulo, known as “Miemie”, was shot several times in her face in front of her 7-year-old child on Wednesday morning. Residents believe she was taken out for speaking out about gangsterism and violence against women and children.
One of the volunteers sharing her experience is Roegshanda Pascoe, an activist in Manenberg who lives in a safe house since May last year.
This after she decided to turn State’s witness in a trial about a murder that happened in her street.
Since taking that decision, she says there has been a bounty on her head and she can never returned to Manenberg. Gangsters have already been to her house to take her out, but luckily she wasn’t at home at the time.
Pascoe said: “Before I decided to testify, the price on my head was R10000 but now it’s R10000 plus a gun. We as community workers and even neighbourhood watch members and community policing forums members don’t get any protection.
“Gangsters will take us out at any time of the day for raising our voices.
“The scary part was when a police officer arrived at my home to inform me that the prosecutor wants to talk to me. Before the police officer arrived at my home the news was out on the streets in Manenberg and I was immediately threatened. The day I testified in court my original statement had disappeared and the investigating officer’s notes were handed in,” she said.
Pascoe said the authorities told her she could never return to Manenberg.
But it’s her plea to those who want to take her to leave her children alone.
“Gangsters are trying to instil fear in volunteer workers and discouraged us not to speak out, and to become part of the flow. It is very dangerous for volunteers out there because you don’t know who to trust,” she said.
A 57-year-old activist from Hanover Park, who wanted to remain anonymous out of fear, said gangsters in the area stabbed her son to death on March 1, 2017, to gag her not to speak about gangsterism in the area.
“My son was killed on my birthday. He was killed because of what I said about the gangsters. It torments me every day. There was also a price on my head but that didn’t deter me. I’m still walking the streets of Hanover Park,” she said.
ANC Western Cape leader Cameron Dugmore said what concerned him most about the murder of Miemie would be if there was victimisation in the case because of her political affiliation.
“Our provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs and councillor Delmaine Cottee will get the full information around what actually happened, because it is a very disturbing trend that even volunteers don’t feel safe,” Dugmore said.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, in condemning the incident, said he asked for an urgent investigation into the murder to determine what happened and the real motive for the killing.