Khoisan activist and African National Congress (ANC) member of the provincial legislature (MPL) Christian Martin spent the weekend sleeping in a coffin in front of the Eastern Cape premier’s office in Bisho.
This in protest against ongoing gang violence in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas.
Today, Martin together with Khoisan chiefs Crawford Fraser and Cora Hennings will take their plight to the ANC’s provincial headquarters in King Williams Town until such time they are acknowledged by Eastern Cape Premier Phumlo Masaulle and Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
Martin said the coffin represented the state of Port Elizabeth northern areas what he described as a place for the “living dead” and where people were being kept hostage in their own communities.
Martin was joined by other activists who slept in tents which represented children who were killed as a result of gang activity.
Crosses were also put up to represent 78 people who died in gang-related violence between April and October, according to Martin.
During November at least eight people, including an eight-year-old boy have been shot in escalating gang violence.
“We as innocent citizens are like birds on a wire or open game to be shot at by cruel merciless gangsters, our own children not strangers. We are truly walking dead not knowing where the next bullet will come from and whose life would end, not respecting age gender nor religion, but the poor and vulnerable are mostly affected,” he said.
Martin said the ongoing killings could be likened to a self-inflicted genocide.
“We have a community soon with more elderly and less youth. This is truly a lost generation. Our only sin living in the northern areas are witnessing a crime,” said Martin.
Martin said that the violence in the northern areas were not isolated incidents but rather a crisis that had escalated to a full scale state of emergency.
He called on government to intervene to stop a soon to be “second genocide”.
Martin said the solution to the problem was not exclusively enforcing a police gang unit but also a multi-facetted integrated government relations approach towards a socio-economic problem.
– African News Agency (ANA)