Stop the killings

Protesters took to the streets of Nyanga, calling for an end to the killing of women.

Women wearing black marched in Nyanga last week in a protest against femicide.

Singing Senzeni na? (what have we done?) the women appealed for the killers of their sisters, mothers and daughters to be brought to justice.

The march was prompted by the killing late last month of Gladys Hoyana, 55, who was shot dead in her house.

Ms Hoyana’s neighbour, Nomvo Lekker, said she had heard shots and then seen two men with guns leaving the house.

“She is one of the most humble people in the street… She is always at home. Women are not safe in Nyanga because she is not the only one shot this week alone.”

March co-ordinator Nomzi Gxotelwa said it wasn’t safe for women to walk the streets, and now they were being shot in their homes.

Rape, murder and abuse were a daily reality for Nyanga’s women, she said, adding the state needed to make it more difficult for violent perpetrators to get parole.

“We are marching to share the pain with the family. We also march to make a call to the government to take the lead. We are not protected in our own houses. Women are not protected anywhere in public spaces, malls and now in their house.

“The government should protect women and children. It should also look at parole. If you give people parole you must also give them work to do because we suspect it also plays a role in crime.”

Reverend Anita Pamla, from Philippi, joined the march and said police needed to redouble their efforts to get illegal guns off the streets.

Reverend Pamla said: “Bring back those operations and confiscate guns. There are too many illegal firearms. For as long we have these firearms in the wrong hands, women are going to die. In a week we attend more than five incidents of women shooting.

Is that normal? Are they saying women are safe? Non-governmental organisations and other concerned groupings have done awareness drives; we have marched, but nothing is happening.”

Police were doing their job on the ground but are being failed by the courts, she said.

The courts needed to realise that women died when perpetrators were freed early, she said.

“We have made too much noise. Police are at least arresting these criminals, but they are soon back on the streets. Who should we blame – the police or courts? For women to be safe, the justice system should work with police.”

Luyanda Nyingwa, the councillor for Nyanga, said it was worrying that women were being killed in broad daylight.

“This is the third one in Nyanga and the times are almost similar. It is just after 12 and 1 pm.”

Nyanga police spokeswoman, Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi, said crime could happen at any time. She appealed to the community to come forward with information and work with the police.

“Residents must assist us. Bring information forward and we will treat that information confidentially. If people are scared to tell any police, they are welcome to come and speak to the station commander.