DA vs ANC vs gangs in Manenberg

Severe challenges for one of Cape Town’s most closely contested wards

Manenberg is not free. It is governed by gangs – The Hard Livings, The Americans, The Clever Boys, The Dixies, as well as The Jokers.01_large

Nyanga, too, has its gangs, but they are less organised, less armed, their territory is more fluid and the battles are mostly confined to their teenage members.

In Manenberg (population 53,000 in 2011) the gangs loom over the entire community. Gangs, and the drugs and violence that accompanies them, turn up sooner rather than later in any conversation, whether with a child, mother or grandparent.

There are hundreds of teenagers, many of them with promising grades, who have had to drop out of high school, or at the very least skip months of school, because their school is in a territory controlled by a gang different from the one that controls the street they live in.

For them, going to school – a right guaranteed in our Constitution – can be a life-threatening activity.