It is 18 months since the suburb of Manenberg erupted in gang warfare, sparked by news of the release on day parole of the former General of the Hard Livings gang, Rashied Staggie. On Sunday night, 9th November, Special Assignment will bring viewers a rebroadcast and update of ‘Duplicity’ – the story about unanswered questions revolving around Staggie’s release from prison and the fate of Chantal Knight – the young woman whose evidence put him behind bars for rape. Duplicity won Best Television Feature in the 2014 Vodacom Journalism of the Year Awards. It was produced by Hazel Friedman, filmed by Marc Mullenberg, Trevor Pistorius and Pam Zokufa, and edited by Paul Jarvis.
Special Assignment has decided to rebroadcast ‘Duplicity, not solely in celebration of journalistic excellence but for more sombre reasons. In September, Staggie was finally released on full parole – a year after the frenzied media reports of his impending day-parole. Apart from briefly being re-arrested after his release and sanctioned by Correctional Services for not having a proper job and for maintaining some dodgy associations, the former gang general has kept a low profile. He has appealed for peace in the neighbourhood he once reigned through fear. Yet, again this year scores of people have been killed in gang violence on the Cape Flats. This week alone, several people have died in gang-related shoot-outs and the carnage continues, unabated, with Manenberg, the most volatile flashpoints. The perpetrators are apparently teenagers, firing at each other, at the police and callously disregarding the cost to the community.
Again, one has to question what is behind the unrelenting gang violence. Another drug-fuelled turf war? The release from prison of ex-gang bosses desperate to reclaim their former glory in the criminal hierarchy? Or instigation by forces with sinister political agendas? Since Duplicity was broadcast in September 2013, it seems that nothing much has changed in this unwinnable war, except the names of the victims.
And in a combat zone, the biggest casualty is all too often the truth.
Watch “DUPLICITY – AN UPDATE” produced by Hazel Friedman. It will be broadcast on Special Assignment – aired Sundays on SABC 3 at a new time slot of 20:30PM.