During a visit to the boy’s grandmother’s home on Monday, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez spoke about the possibility of providing Anti-Gang Unit support for the community at Ashwin’s funeral, which will be held on Saturday. Ashwin lived with his grandmother Brenda Rudolf.
Speaking at the home, Fritz said he was shaken by the violence experienced by the Uitsig community on a daily basis. Regarding allegations that the boy was shot because he was a gunrunner for local gangs, Fritz said: “There can be no speculation at this time. We must leave those claims to the police to investigate.”
Fernandez promised the family that her department would organise trauma counselling for the three other boys who were accompanying Ashwin when he was killed, and she pledged to help the Jones family with the funeral arrangements and costs.
Premier Alan Winde said: “Children are not safe in this province. We have seen countless children become the innocent victims of gang violence. I have seen first hand how drugs and alcohol ravage communities in this province and the neglect, abuse and trauma that comes with that.
“I can’t imagine the pain of having to bury your own child, and yet too many parents in this province have lost their children to senseless violence, which is exacerbated by the presence of gangs and drugs in our communities. As a province we need to be doing more.”
Fritz promised the community of Uitsig that “the Department of Community Safety will continue to work better together with the Department of Social Development to provide the necessary interventions including youth camps, youth cafés, neighbourhood watches, religious school holiday programmes and partial care facilities”.
Pastor Adam Alexander, who said Ashwin was a member of a youth programme, pointed out that across the street from the home there was a semi-demolished house where gangsters from the area often hide.
Winde said: “Police resources in this province are pitifully low – our police service is stretched to the limit and it is impacting their ability to prevent crime.”