Angry residents march for equality

PHIRI CAWE

Hundreds of disgruntled protesters, led by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) marched to Harare police station, on Tuesday March 15, to demand better police efficiency in Khayelitsha.

They also demanded police visibility at the informal settlements, the deployment of specialist police and a speedy investigation in case of Sinoxolo Mafevuka who was brutally raped and killed.

Chants of “equality phantsi ngobuhlanga” filled the air as hundreds of protestors made their way from Town Two to the police station.

The march also attracted protesters from across the political spectrum and religious groups.

The protesters said police inefficiency in the area was once again highlighted last week following the killing of Ms Mafevuka. They said while there was no progress on the case, suspects were quickly arrested in the case of teenager, Franziska Blochliger, who was also raped and killed in Tokai last week. The naked body of MsMafevuka, 21, was found in a communal toilet in,Town Two, Khayelitsha, March 2.

Blöchliger went missing after she, her mother and sister went for a run in Tokai Forest last Monday afternoon. The teenager’s body was found later that day after a frantic search by police, residents and the Kirstenhof crime watch. The following day, three suspects between the ages of 22 and 27 were detained for questioning in connection with Franziska’s murder. The three suspects are still behind bars.

The organisation said the handling of the two casesshowed massive inequalities in society. The organisation said it was unfortunate that tragedies like these have to be used to show the inequalities that exist in Cape Town.

The SJC said in August 2014 the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry found that the allocation of the police’s human resources is inequitable, irrational and unjust, however, it appeared very little had been done to remedy the situation.

The organisation condemned the lack of progress on the case. It said limited contact was made with the young woman’s familyand no counselling was offered.

The coalition’s head of its Safety and Justice Programme, Chumile Sali, said: “We are calling on police to take immediate action against the criminals. We demand that the government ensures that qualified, competent, skilled and experienced SAPS personnel, including police experts are deployed from elsewhere to continue with the investigation. That will guarantee justice for Sinoxolo,” he said.

Mr Sali demanded that the Khayelitsha cluster commander and the three station commanders, for Lingelethu, Harare and Khayelitsha police stations, engage with SAPS at the provincial and national level to rectify the structural inefficiencies.

Bishop Michel Hansrod said he was sorry that the churches had been silent in cases like these. He said churches should have made a big noise a long ago.

He said they were in the march to demand equal treatment for everyone.

“We also demand that justice is given to Sinoxolo and all other young girls who died. We know there are many, but Sinoxolo has became a symbol of those. We demand justice for all,” he said.

Accepting the memorandum, Harare police station commander Colonel Thotleho Raboliba told the protesters that police made a breakthrough in the case. He promised to discuss the memorandum with his superiors before reporting back to the SJC.