28 January 2014
Malwande Msongelwa found her brother dead at a bus-stop near her house. He had been stabbed. She called the emergency number, 10111. There was no response.
She then called a senior SAPS member whom she had met that day through her work at the Social Justice Coalition. He had said she should call if the 10111 number did not work.
Ten minutes after the call was made, the police arrived. The officers did not want to get out the car. They rolled down the window and shouted at Msongelwa and her family. Once they had established there was a murder, the police officers took Msongelwa to find the man whom she believed had murdered her brother. While they did this they left the body of her brother uncovered and unguarded. Her brother’s body lay on the ground at the bus-stop for roughly six hours. The crime scene was not investigated.
Today Msongelwa told the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry how the police were unwilling to help. She described their slack attitude towards the investigation. Towards the end of her testimony, she said tearfully:
The police do not care about people… [they] will only come out if there are drugs. Then they will come out with 10 cars …They do not even care if you are injured… If the ambulance hasn’t arrived they won’t touch you. They wait in their car… I don’t trust the police.
The SAPS advocate, Norman Arendse did not cross-examine her. He did however put on record that he would follow up on the investigation of her brother’s death. He went on to say that this is, “by far the most egregious example of police insensitivity we have heard so far … This conduct of the police does not belong in any civilised society.”
Msongelwa broke down after her testimony. Photo by Adam Armstrong.