Shenid Bhayroo:

Another gangster is laid to rest on the Cape Flats, according to police Ernie Lapepa Peters was a drug smuggling gang leader who held the community in a grip of terror for years. He was gunned down in his BMW near his home in the township of Belhar.

 

Speaker 2:

It's gonna be all right. Family of Ernie Peters: mother, boys it's okay. Don't worry it's okay. Protector for Ernie Peters, it's all right. The Lord will be with you.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

Peter was at least the 11th gang leader to be assassinated in the Western Cape. Since the Muslim organisation, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, better known as PAGAD started the war against drug dealers two and half years ago.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

The first bullet, the second bullet and you are facing death, with this scar I faced death in the eye and you know what goes through my mind? Because they is no one to help, they is no one you can call. They is no mama there, the wife or kid. You call on your creator God. God help.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

Ivan Wildeck is a former leader of the ugly Americans Gang. He went to prison at the age of 14 for murder, after his release he became a reborn Christian and is now working among his former gangster friends.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

I believe any person, the gangster are scared. Yes they are scared and that's what making them so most dangerous. Tell me a person who is not scared to die. I am scared, but I have the peace because I know where I am going when I die. They are not.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

Many gangster are praying for the protection against the relentless war that PAGAD is wedging against them. They have turned to God and claim they are no longer selling drugs. One is Hard Livings leader Rashied Staggie whose brother Rashaad was murdered by PAGAD in 1996.

 

Alvern Martins:

The gangsters are praying like never before. A sinner also loves his child. I saw a two-year-old child whose leg was mutilated by PAGAD.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

I got a phone call from Rashied Staggie and he phoned me and say, "Hi Ivan, I am quite excited. I was in church this morning." And I said, "Oh really." I said, "Yes." He told me that he had one of his brother suits Rashaad Staggie suit. He had it on and he was in Durban Christian Centre.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

If this is what is driving the gang leader into the arms of the preachers. PAGAD and it's even more militant sister organisation Qibla. These muslim based vigilante groups declared war against drug lords and gang leaders in early 1996. Their protest was scorned by the police failure to combat crime on the Cape Flats. Based out and matched on the homes of gang leaders and warn them that they would be executed unless they stop the illegal activities.

 

 

Police intelligence started monitoring PAGAD in early 1996 and since heard a series of farms and shooting rangers where the members of the organisation so called GFs or Gun Force received training for the military campaign against the gangsters. One of the police informant who had infiltrated PAGAD is a former member of the 26 gang. He is also a Muslim and joined PAGAD at its inception. He is known in the underworld as Hadji.

 

Hadji:

They are highly trained good marksman.

 

Speaker 6:

How do you know this?

 

Hadji:

Because I have been in some of the places already. I have been on the farms where we used to train.

 

Speaker 6:

And they do target practise.

 

Hadji:

Target practise, moving targets, running the same, like almost a military camp.

 

Speaker 6:

What kind of weapon do they have?

 

Hadji:

Mostly 9 mil and shotguns and a couple of riffles.

 

Speaker 6:

Tell us about the shooting range?

 

Hadji:

It is a big farm in [inaudible]. They make like dummies with Staggie names on and shoot at it.

 

Speaker 6:

What other names do they shoot at?

 

Hadji:

Stanfield, Jackie Lonte, Ahmad Thomas.

 

Speaker 7:

Kill the militants. No to drugs. Kill the militants.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The police it seems largely ignored the warnings about the militants within PAGAD. During the last days of July 1996 PAGAD issued a dead list of gang leaders who must be killed. This video comes from the police archives.

 

Speaker 8:

[foreign language]. Death to Naka, Death to Jackie Lonte, death to Ahmad, death to [inaudible] death to Staggie, death to [inaudible] Rashied and Rashaad the Staggies the sentence on you is death. Death to Evans. If you do not give yourself up in the following week [inaudible] and we will strike you for trying to destroy our children [foreign language].

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The instructions to kill was issued. A few days later on August 4th 1996, hundreds of PAGAD supporters gathered in a mosque in preparation for march on assault of the home of Rashied and Rashaad Staggie. The police even clearly warned about the intentions of PAGAD where ill prepared and under-staffed for the events that follow that night.

 

 

Rashaad Staggie arrived at his home to assist his brother who was kept inside by the PAGAD gunman. Police allowed him to continue and he drove into the arms of the frenzy mob. What followed was one of the most brutal murders in the history of Cape gang land. It was propitiated by a mob of incited and murderous PAGAD supporters, who that night killed in the name of Allah.

 

 

Police say that they couldn't assist the dying man as they were PAGAD snipers on the roofs of the surrounding houses. His charred body laid in the road for close to an hour before it could be retrieved. PAGAD members returned to the mosque after the murder.

 

Speaker 9:

This shows, what happened tonight, shows what happens when you put your trust in Allah. And yes we can clear our society and rid our society of that scum.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The death of Rashaad Staggie started a vicious spiral of violence between PAGAD, the gangsters and the police. As always innocent people were trapped between the warring parties. We were astounded to discover the apparent extent and success of PAGAD campaign and operation against the gangsters. This is a secret military intelligence report compiled in August last year. According to military intelligence 68 gangsters were targeted by PAGAD in a five month period between March and July 1998.

 

 

24 gang leaders and gangsters were killed. Many more were assassinated after this period. The attack against the gangsters the report says were carried out with military precision. The report mentions the names of gang leaders and gangsters who they said had been murdered, injured or wounded by PAGAD.

 

Wikus H.:

They are not there for anything else, but to safeguard themselves and to take somebody out, that they want to take out.

 

Peter Gastrow:

Qibla and some of it's related organisations and I think PAGAD belongs to that. Is driven by a very small group, I believe of very intelligent, committed but fundamentalist Muslim South Africans.

 

Wikus H.:

If they go for a person that is not an attempted murder, it's murder, it's assassination.

 

Peter Gastrow:

So you have this very small militant, very intelligent, committed, passionate group.

 

Wikus H.:

And they wait for the right moment, for the right place. And then one or two will go for him, make sure that they kill him.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

In March last year gangsters Katy-Ann Arendse and her husband Faried Davids died in a hail of shot gun and R5 riffle fire outside one of the Shebeen in Cape Flats. The murder carried all the whole marks of yet another PAGAD attack. Katy-Ann was one of the only female gang leader on the Cape Flats.

 

Gaynor Wasser:

Women don't play a high profile ... You don't have a leadership role in gangs. As a woman she played quite a high ... She had a big role to play within the structure of the firm. She sat in on their meetings because it is not just anybody that walks in to meetings such as that. She controlled quite a large area. And she was married to quite high profile ... Her first husband was quite a high profile gang leader.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

If they was one gangster that PAGAD wanted dead, it was the American gang leader Jackie Lonte, He has the dubious honour of introducing crack into the Cape. Lonte brother Edman was the first to be gun down in January last year. Jackie was interviewed just after the killing of his brother.

 

Jackie Lonte:

Two children in a pick-up were shot. Another in a mini-bus. They took another child who was in my yard and brutally killed him.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

10 months later the once untouchable Jackie Lonte met a similar fate when he shot with an R5 riffle outside his home. The night before the killing, PAGAD members were seen outside the residents.

 

Wikus H.:

If you look at the investigation and if you look at the threats against those people, the Jackie Lonte's. Then there is no real other way to look at it. That from the angle of PAGAD. They were definitely involved.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

A few days later Belhar gang leader Ernie Lepepa Peters was shot, some say it was the Sexy Boys that ambushed him. Other lay the blame for his death at the door of PAGAD. Lepepa spent a week in hospital before he eventually died.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

And the first and the second visit he tells me, "Ivan, I surrender all my wrongs doings and things and I tend to the Lord, to Jesus I give him my heart." And I asked him Ernie did you give your heart to Jesus? So he tell me, "Yes."

 

Alvern Martins:

Unable to move his neck, he said God had given him another chance. I am living my second life, by God's mercy. I have a second chance.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

If you repent and confess your sins God is faithful and just he will forgive you your sins. And I believe that Ernie is at home with our heavenly father.

 

Speaker 14:

Despite all the drugs the has sold.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

The drugs he has sold. Despite all killings if you are part of it.

 

Speaker 14:

Ivan Waldeck and Alvern Martins conduct most of the gangster funerals on the Cape Flats.

 

Alvern Martins:

I have buried hundreds of people over the past two years. Many were PAGAD murders, others the result of new conflicts. There were seven corpses that Saturday. We started with the first one in Harlem street. There's three corpses at the grave, and I have to preach at two more. It is only since the trouble between PAGAD and the gangsters started, that the bodies have piled up.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The luckiest man to be alive must be Mitchells Plain gang leader Dimes Madatt. PAGAD had allegedly tried to kill him several times. In November last year he stopped his car outside his shebeen.

 

Dimes Madatt:

I looked in the mirror. Armed men got out of the car behind us. I shouted to my mates to run for their lives. They started shooting, and I ran for cover. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I was shot in the arm with a R5. It bled a lot. What I thought of, was to smear the blood and flesh all over my face. That helped me a lot. An attacker came to me. I knew I had to play dead. The man was here to finish me off. I just lay there.

 

 

He said to his friends: this thing is dead. He took my gun, but there was no movement. No breath. He walked away. They went in and shot four people. One died.

 

Speaker 16:

Who were the attackers?

 

Dimes Madatt:

PAGAD.

 

Speaker 16:

Why do you think you're still alive?

 

Dimes Madatt:

The man from above, with his mercy. It's not my time to die yet.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

This was the third attack on Madatt's life.

 

Dimes Madatt:

Death is quick and unexpected. You can't wait for those people. You can wait for 2,000 years. The day you don't wait, they come.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

Killing a person, silent a person doesn't mean you stopped him, because there is another Rashied who is gonna rise up. They is another Colin Stanfield who is going to rise to the kill Collin. There is a lot of Rashaad Staggie out there. And they is foreigner Staggie also coming aboard.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

It is not just the gangsters on the Cape Flats that are threatened by PAGAD. In Sea Point in Cape Town we found Hansea Ace who is the leader of the Hard Livings gang in the area. Hansea and his men occupy the second floor of an old building in main street. In one of the cities trendiest suburbs. He says he has been threatened several times by PAGAD.

 

Hansea:

He can come in here, but he's not just going to kill me. We're forced to keep a few guns. I've been threatened many times. They want to kill me. I won't run.

 

Speaker 18:

Who threatened you?

 

Hansea:

PAGAD. I can't say who because of the disguises and placards.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

In January last year one of the houses of Rasheid Staggie in Sea Point was attacked by masked gunmen. Four people were shot dead and two wounded. Hansea came across the scene.

 

Hansea:

They were my friends. They died a horrible death. They were all young.

 

Speaker 18:

Why were they killed?

 

Hansea:

Probably the smuggling. They did nothing else wrong. They didn't rob people or break into cars. They were in that house.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

Several of the Cape most prominent drug lords and gang leaders have left the area out of fear for PAGAD. Hard Livings leader Rashied Staggie now lives in Meteo. While Colin Stanfield leader of The Firm has moved to Johannesburg. Not only are the gangsters praying, but they claim that they don't smuggle anymore.

 

Ivan Waldeck:

And I am not telling the people they must believe me out there, only time will tell. But yes. Rashied is not smuggling anymore. I just know it in my heart.

 

Kishor Harri:

That's completely false because if these same gangsters who five years ago sell drugs in the Cape Flats and suddenly they are saying that they stopped selling drugs. Then why is the drugs trade still going on? Why are we still finding drugs everyday on the Cape Flats?

 

Wikus H.:

There is no way that they can survive without the drugs and smuggling. They is no way that they will stop it.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

Gangsters like Hansea Ace who is an enthusiastic [inaudible] drug himself claims that he and his gang of Hard Livings moved into Sea Point 10 years ago. They completely control the area.

 

Hansea:

Sea Point was full of money. Big money. Nice money. Now it's gone. Money has to be shared by many. At one stage, only we smuggled. It's now impossible to stop. People are coming across the borders.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

While the traditional gangs and drug dealers remain the biggest smugglers on the Cape Flats and parts of Cape Town. A new bread of drug merchants has moved in to the mother city.

 

Kishor Harri:

It is a well known fact that the Nigerians for example, bring cocaine into the Western Cape. The Nigeria drug syndicates. And our Cape Flat gangs then purchase part of cocaine from them or crack cocaine to sell into the Cape Flats.

 

Hansea:

I was stabbed by a Nigerian.

 

Speaker 18:

Why did he stab you?

 

Hansea:

We had an argument. We stabbed one another. I think I got the better of him.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The police have been severely criticised for the incompetence in dealing with the drug lords the gangsters and PAGAD, for years the Staggies in Lontes of Cape Flats acting without fear for prosecution for them gangsterism and drug dealing have became a way of life. Many say that PAGAD cannot be blamed for taking the law into their own hands.

 

Gaynor Wasser:

For the past 11 years they has never been a drug lord high profile drug lord that was ever convicted of his behaviour and misconduct in communities.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

But despite all the killings the drug trade is alive and well and living.

 

Gaynor Wasser:

We don't believe that that is a route to take. To eliminate people. Because that hasn't stopped, the drug trafficking, we still got our gangs in our communities.

 

Kishor Harri:

The killings of gang leaders or other senior gang members have by no means stopped gangsterism or the drug trade.

 

Gaynor Wasser:

Have achieved absolutely nothing. Definitely not. They just installed more fear in ordinary law abiding citizens. That is what they have achieved.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The police have not had any success against PAGAD. Last year in the Western Cape they were more than 600 incidents of assassinations, killings, pipe explosions, attack on police stations and other act of urban terrorism.

 

Gaynor Wasser:

It is disgusting and it is crying shame. That to date they has been 682 pipe bombs, houses that were destroyed and things like that and not one conviction.

 

Wikus H.:

We don't really have the support of the community. And you will find that on a scene like Jackie Lonte even like Benny Lategan. They were people on the scene. They were people that so everything. But they don't want to get involved.

 

Peter Gastrow:

They is great concern in Cape Town area that even cases that end up in court, somehow don't go any further than discharge at an early stage or docket is missing.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The Western Cape is gripped in a vice of terror and it's not only the gangster and drug dealers that are dying. Members of PAGAD also been killed, either by police or gangsters. Virtually every funeral start a new cycle of violence as leaders incite their followers and promise retaliation.

 

Speaker 20:

In the day we are hit a power of Hezbollah [inaudible] and the mujahideen, the army, the police, the MIs, the NIS, Mossad and the corrupt clergies and corrupt imams. They better disappear from the face of the earth. We are going to hit you as hard as we are going to hit any enemy in this part of the world.

 

Shenid Bhayroo:

The police has also been in the firing line. A few days after this speech, captain Benny Lategan was gunned down. He was at the time investigating PAGAD related acts of violence. On Friday superintendent Schalk Visagie former head of the PAGAD investigation team was shot in similar fashion. Unlike Lategan, he miraculously survived the attack. The police in the Western Cape have launched operation good hope in an effort to curb the wave of urban terrorism. In the meantime the war between PAGAD and the gangsters continues, unless something is done. The killings will not stop.

 

Alvern Martins:

God is the king of peace. Don't worry, it is going to be okay. It's going to be all right. If something is at its worst it is about to end.

 

 

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