As the country prepared the mark National Women’s Day, blood marked where Siphokazi Bhokile’s killer dragged her lifeless body as he tried to hide what he had done.
The next day, Women’s Day (Monday August 9) hundreds of women from School Site in Philippi and surrounding areas marched to Nyanga police station to demand that police do more to ensure that women are safe and that Ms Bhokile killer is jailed.
According to the police, the deceased and the accused know each other and on the day of the incident, they had been together.
The more than one 150 women who marched to the police station, sang songs of struggles while calling for women’s safety to be made a priority.
At the police station, one woman after another shared her own story of harassment and abuse, with some accusing police of having failed women.
Among them was Tshikelo Sobuthongo who pleaded with the police not to release the accused.
“He threatened us in front of the officers. He told us he is coming back to kill us,” she said.
“So we are here to submit this letter to seek your protection from the police. We urge the police to please listen to us. The community could have killed him but this community is tired of taking the law into their hands.”
Another marcher, Ncebakazi Dulaze, said all they want is to feel safe in their community.
“Women and mothers are not safe. These killings by people close to women need to come to an end.
“What we want now is for him to be out of our area. This has to happen while we are celebrating Women’s Month. It is a clear indication that even in the democratic South Africa women are still a target. Women are still facing a lot of challenges from their partners, men. He must go stay somewhere else, not in Philippi,” she told Vukani.
Calls for action grew louder when a woman from Nyanga accused Nyanga police of not having a plan to prevent femicide and child abuse.
Station commander Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata described the incident as “bad” and said police were also investigating a rape case. “They know each other and apparently they were having fun together. We have information on what transpired. But the accused, after allegedly killing her, tried to drag her away to hide her. But the blood led to the scene,” he said.
He said they would oppose bail because of the seriousness of the crime.
Brigadier Ncata highlighted the good relationship they have with the people of Philippi as well as its neighbourhood watches.
“For us to arrest the accused, we did not (have to do a lot of work) because the residents had him and kept him. That is as a result of the relationship we have built with the community of Phillipi in Browns Farm and School Site. We want to thank them for also not taking the law into their hands instead of calling the police,” he said.
He said the accused will appear in court soon.