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SJC march for justice in Khayelitsha

The murder and rape of Sinoxolo Mafevuka triggers anger at lack of policing

SJC march in Khayelitsha. Photo by Thembela Ntongana
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The SJC (Social Justice Coalition) held a march today from Town Two Clinic to Harare Police Station to hand in a memorandum demanding justice for Sinoxolo Mafevuka, the 19-year-old teenager who was found murdered in a communal toilet a few minutes away from her home in Khayelitsha’s SST Section.

About 400 residents and representatives from NGOs attended the march.

“I want her to get the justice that I didn’t get. I am here for her because this could have been me. I could have been dead,” said an SST Section resident, who did not want her name to be mentioned as she was raped in 2003 on her way to buy bread to make lunch for her children. She reported the case, but says the people never went to jail.

“This is a serious problem in the area, I am here to show support to the family because I know how they must feel right now.” she said

In a statement, the SJC said that during the commission into policing in Khayelitsha in 2014, the precinct in which Mafevuka was raped and murdered was found to be the least resourced police precinct in the Western Cape.

A second police station for this precinct, to be built in Makhaza, was a provincial SAPS priority in 2004. To date, construction has yet to begin.

Another resident, Andiswa Baba, said the community was tired of women being raped and murdered. “This is not the first time that this has happened and the police are not doing anything. We want protection from our police. They must do as they do in Tokai. Or is it because we [are] black people living in informal settlements? …. They must stop only acting when the stories are in the news.”

Another resident, Obrie Yarende, shouted at Harare Station Commander Colonel Tshotleho Joseph Raboliba: “We want foot patrol, we want foot patrol! This is enough!”

Yarende said, “You cannot come to patrol an informal settlement with cars. How will you drive through the shacks? Our sisters are dying; they are being raped; people are being robbed on their way to work … This was a young woman and her death could have been prevented.”.

SJC organiser Chumile Sali says they have been asking SAPS for a plan on policing in informal areas, but have been given nothing.

“For the police to not have a plan on how to deal with crime in informal settlements is an insult to many poor black people who live in these areas. We are also saying that resources must be distributed equally. The way they are deploying is irrational, if you look at places like Camps Bay, there are more police, but there is less crime.”

“This is just one of many cases, but some do not make it on the news. She died on the third, but an investigation into her murder was only done after the minister came to Khayelitsha; that’s when they decided to come and take statements,” said Sali.

Colonel Raboliba, who accepted the memorandum, said he will hand it over to his superiors to look at the issues; they will then reply in due course.

“There are two people [arrested for the murder and rape of Mafevuka] which are in court as we speak. We will continue to investigate the case,” he said.

The court case was postponed to 24 March.

Topics:  CRIME  |  KHAYELITSHA COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO POLICING  |  POLICING

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