Inside Story: Reformed Parkwood Gang Leader Rashaad Allen Speaks Out

Reformed Parkwood gang leader Rashaad Allen said he supported CCC

South Africa, Cape Town – The Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) is on a mission to broker peace among gangs across the Cape Flats. CCC interim president Fadiel Adams said discussions with gangs started last week.

Reformed Parkwood gang leader Rashaad Allen said he supported CCCs efforts but cautioned: “All gang leaders are CEOs of their own businesses.

“If gang leaders can manipulate human beings to believe in their doctrine or in their instruction, then surely that leader has the ability to lead, and if their leadership can be manipulated by something humanitarian, then it can benefit the whole of mankind.”

He said leaders were accustomed to receiving large sums of money daily and should be given options to earn an income to have them fully on board.

“From a little boy already I was a part of the top structure.

“I made decisions about people’s lives, about who is going to live or die, or who was going to go home to his wife with one eye.”

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He asked where the psychologists, councillors and social workers were for those who wished to reform. He said if change could occur at the top, it would filter down to the foot soldiers.

Allen spent 20 years and three months in prisons.

He was first imprisoned in 1988, at the age of 17. Upon his release in 1995, he said it took him two days to, among others, acquire guns and start recruiting members for armed robbery.

Today, Allen runs and facilitates a number of rehabilitative and development programmes, and a halfway house for people with criminal backgrounds or a history of drug use.

On whether gangsters could reform, he said: “I’m living proof that it is possible.”

Four Mitchells Plain gangs have indicated they would attend the ceasefire meeting, with more from the Cape Flats intended to come on board.

“We engage the gangs to stop the shootings. We intend to offer the young gangsters alternatives such as work, skills development, and entrepreneurial training. Previous ceasefires have failed because there weren’t any options offered to the kids,” Adams said.

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He said that post-discussions, the CCC would act as a mediator in future gang disputes. The date for the ceasefire meeting is yet to be determined.

Cape Argus

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