EDITORIAL | Gangland curse’s unending cycle

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A vicious, terrifying and never-ending cycle.
That is the only way to describe the communities that are held to ransom in Port Elizabeth’s gang-infested northern areas where each day brings with it more bloodshed, threats and living under dark clouds of fear and despair for innocent families.
With their neighbourhood roots firmly established – whether it be legacy, household, jobs, kin or friends – they have little choice but to bear the brunt.
Some of the streets may be likened to a war zone.
An unseen enemy rules people’s lives and so often deals in death.
This gangland conflict has been happening for decades – and just as there are endless questions as to why it appears to be an insurmountable social quagmire, so there will be as many reasons proffered as to the root causes.
Poverty, historical displacement of communities, the tearing apart of the family fabric, exposure to violent criminal activity in the most formative years – these all have left their scars and will continue to deliver fresh wounds.
But as we report today, what we are seeing now is something even the police say is a far more sinister twist to the daily nightmare which is life in certain parts of these suburbs, where young children have to run the gauntlet and evade confrontation with gangsters just so they can get to school.
Or where the family members of rival gang members are targeted and killed.
The police, many of whom also live in these neighbourhoods, can only do so much.
And the broader community are already doing a great deal to protect themselves and each other while educating and instilling in their children respect and responsibility.
There are no quick-fix solutions here – those who live in these parts know that only too well. Vigilance and safety are the priority – and, as one mother says, a prayer every time she sends her young son off to school.

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