Advocacy groups, community leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have called on parents to take extra care when dealing with children and to always know their whereabouts.
The appeal was made during a memorial service for the late Anelisa Dulaze, at Chris Hani Art School, on Thursday May 12. Hundreds of people attended the service to pay their last respects to the young girl whose decaying body was found buried under a half-built house in Makhaza on Monday May 2.
A suspect, believed to be Anelisa’s ex-boyfriend, Monwabisi Mbobo, has since been arrested. He appeared at the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday May 3, on a charge of murder. Anelisa went missing on January 31, after going out with friends to a tavern in Town Two to celebrate her 21st birthday.
At the memorial service, speakers issued a stern warning to murderers, rapists and law-breakers. They said such crimes rob society of its future leaders.
The general consensus was that communities have reached a tipping point. Among other challenges the speakers highlighted were the rampant abuse of drugs and the killing of young girls.
Anelisa’s former principal, Madoda Mahlutshana, said it was sad that a child could go missing without a trace for four months, attributing this to what he believed was a lack of skills among police.
“We are questioning the ability of the South African Police Services and their interest in black lives. Leaders must stand up. As the school we call for the suspect to rot in jail,” he said.
Mr Mahlutshana described Anelisa as a leader and a colourful person who fought for quality education. He added that she had been a hard worker.
A fiery Lumkile Sizila, representing the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), also blamed the police for not caring. He said the tragedy could have been prevented by swift police action. He also took a swipe at the “so-called true friends” and questioned their loyalty to each other.
“As the TAC we want to appeal to parents to make sure they know the whereabouts of their children. But again, the so-called friends… how do you leave your friend behind if you really love her? Police have also let us down on this one. They have been dragging their feet in resolving the matter,” he said.
Mr Sizila said Anelisa’s death should be the last, adding that his organisation would demand that police be able to investigate, that parents take extra care of their children and there should be unity among community leaders and NGOs to fight crime.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido called for a women’s summit to discuss crimes against them.
Ward 95 councillor Mpucuko Nguzo urged people to make a call for the accused to rot in jail, if found guilty.
Khayelitsha’s Site B police station commander, Colonel Mkhuseli Nkwitshi, defended police and appealed for a good working relationship with the community. He said crime against women and children was a serious challenge which needed everyone’s attention.
“Women are vulnerable to crime. As police we are prepared to partner with NGOs and advocacy groups like Ilitha Labantu and TAC and many others to fight crime,” he said.