An open letter to the President of the Republic of South Africa

11 November 2020

Minister of Police, Bhekokwakhe ‘Bheki’ Hamilton Cele
Premier of Western Cape Province, Alan Winde
MEC of Community Safety, Albert Fritz
Mayor of Cape Town, Daniel Plato Email:

Your Excellency Mr President,

“Protection fee and Gang violence,” a state of emergency.

As the youth of Africa Unite, we are heartbroken in addressing this letter to you to voice out a serious challenge faced by the people of the Cape Flats. The year 2020 is characterised by hardships caused by COVID-19; however, we are facing another demon of murdering innocent people. In the Cape Flats, we are very concerned as we witness daily brutal killings of innocent people by gangsters who are collecting money for protection fees.

This phenomenon of “protection racketeering” started a few years ago, targeting foreign owned-shops in different townships. Without paying the fees, the foreign-owned shops (spaza shops) were robbed, looted, and even killed. At the time, the general public was not concerned and viewed this phenomenon as normal because the local people were not affected.

The collection of a “protection fee” grew drastically over the years and it has become more organised to the extent that it is now operating like a mafia in the Cape Flats. It has started claiming many lives of both foreign nationals and South Africans in both Coloured and Black townships. The situation has now reached a point where the criminals have formed two groups (the Guptas and Boko Haram) who collect money. These two groups are currently fighting using guns against each other, day and night, to control their targeted victims. The situation has become uncontrollable, so that they are now targeting and collecting money from property owners and ordinary women street vendors who sell fruits and vegetables.

Besides the above Your Excellency Mr President, Cape Town is known for its gang violence and has become so common that, unfortunately, some consider it a South African sub-culture.

The police are overwhelmed and unable to control the situation. Moreover, the current situation has extended to neighbouring farm areas such as Grabouw, etc. The gangs’ business is booming; hence, as Africa Unite, we are very concerned that these gangs will recruit more young people to sustain their businesses during the upcoming festive holidays. Recently, seven people were brutally killed in Gugulethu in one day. In areas such as Philippi East, the gangs are forcing people to go to bed by 6 pm as it will be their time to start operating. Currently, the situation is more than critical as everyone in the Cape Flats is living in fear.

Your Excellency Mr President, as concerned Africa Unite youth, our plea to you is to give your urgent priority to this issue by:

  1. Declaring a state of emergency in the Cape Flats before the start of the festive season
  2. Calling all the security services to bring to book all people responsible for these harmful activities.
  3. Addressing Gender-Based (GBV) violence against young girls who are victims of gang violence during the upcoming 16 Days of Activism.

Your Excellency Mr President, It is therefore incumbent on us the youth to raise this issue with you as a matter of great seriousness. We hope that your attention to this matter will be highly appreciated.

Finally, Your Excellency Mr President, as the Youth Representatives we are available at your convenience, to lead a delegation of Youth Representatives to meet you to discuss these matters further and pave a new trajectory for our City.

Yours in Youth Development:

Akhona Madikane
Lyle Breda
Melusi Mahlaba
Rouxbin Smit

About lylerb2

Human Rights Development officer at Africa Unite, Pan Africanist, Christian and avid adventurer
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