Police are not ruling out the possibility that gang violence may be the motive for a mass shooting in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Seven people were killed and several others injured, including a 6-year-old child.

One person has been arrested so far.

Speaking outside a house in Khayelitsha where seven people were gunned down on Sunday morning, Police Minister Bheki Cele says alcohol abuse is a big source of crime, especially murders in townships in the Western Cape.

Seven others who were shot and wounded in the incident are recovering in hospital. The house was allegedly operating as an illegal shebeen at the time of the incident.

The shooting took place while the victims were consuming alcohol at the premise.

Cele says the motive for the shooting is still under investigation. “We have clues, one person has been picked up, and we hope that we make further arrests. Police are very much sure that they will pick up other people on their radar. Maybe it’s not good to say the number and the names. They have names of people they are looking for, then we will know what happened,” says Cele.

‘Gang-related shooting’

Some residents, who live in the area where the shooting occurred, say they believe the shooting was gang-related.

“This place has been open for quite some time, but it closed. What they were looking for is the owner. It’s a matter being at the wrong place at the wrong time, meaning this was planned, they were coming either way. So this is gang-related. It’s not about alcohol, because I believe the people who came here, they were not drunk or anything like that, they came here as planned. They knew what they wanted to do, so it was a plan, so they came here guns blazing and shot at everyone,” says one resident, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

32-year-old Gncithemba Beja was arrested in connection with the shooting. He has been charged with seven counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder.

He made his first appearance in connection with the matter at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court on Tuesday. His case has been postponed to 17 March for bail information to be obtained.