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COVID-19 Not Killing My People, Gang Violence Is – Councillor

Fear continues to grip an Elsies River community plagued by gang violence.

Ward councillor Franchesca Walker said that parts of Leonsdale were volatile at the moment, with relentless shootings.

This week, a 34-year-old woman was killed by a stray bullet while she was watching TV. On Friday, a 15-year-old boy was buried after he was murdered last week and two schoolgirls were also recently shot and wounded.

Walker was worried about a surge in gang violence in Leonsdale.

She’s even too scared to enter the area without the protection of law enforcement.

“As the councillor, I’m fearful whenever I enter the area. I log on to Elsies River SAPS with Colonel Pine, who is the station commander and I notify him that I’m entering the area and ask for visibility.”

Walker said that she also called on police for protection when she went into the area to hand out food to the needy.

“The shootings doesn’t allow me to reach out to the needy that needs help. It’s very difficult as a councillor when they call you and say that they don’t have food and the kids are hungry and I cannot just go into the area and know that I won’t be in the crossfire.”

The councillor said that the shootings started once lockdown regulations were relaxed to level three.

“It should be emphasised that my people are not dying of COVID-19, they’re dying of bullets.”