Cape Town -
Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has backed Khayelitsha residents’ frustration with policing in the area, and described his own family’s heartbreak after a young relative was murdered.
Vavi supplied the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry with an affidavit on Monday, saying police had waited five days before breaking the news of the death of his sister’s granddaughter to the family.
Vavi addressed crowds of reporters and Khayelitsha residents at Khayelitsha’s Look-out Hill where the hearings into police inefficiency are being held.
“I know exactly how the people of Khayelitsha feel and I congratulate them on taking a stand. Yesterday, I was at the funeral of my sister’s granddaughter where my family was put through the same police inefficiency that you went through.”
Busisa Siziba, 25, was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend, and found lying in the streets of Harare on January 17.
Vavi said: “The incident happened on January 17, but police only came to report the death to my sister five days later.”
Welcoming the commission, Vavi said: “If these kind of incidents are happening in Khayelitsha, one can only imagine what is happening in the rural areas where police visibility is rare. Our justice system is collapsing, but what do you expect when a businessperson is a commissioner?”
Lizard Vavi, Vavi’s nephew and Siziba’s uncle, said when the family went to the boyfriend’s shack after getting the news of Siziba’s death, they found it covered in blood spatters.
Lizard said police were dragging their feet and failing to conduct a full investigation. “It’s been weeks but no one has come back to us on anything. Last Thursday, we went back to Harare police station to find out what is happening and we were told the investigating officer was on leave until Monday.”
Earlier at the commission, Vavi spoke about people losing faith in the police and opting to give power to taxi drivers.
“You have to resort to either join these taxi drivers and beat these guys up or you fear them, full stop. There is no other option.”
Nokhanyo Siziba, Busisa’s mother, said her daughter’s death had broken her heart.
The 25-year-old was the eldest of two girls. “I’m hurt. Yes she was rebellious but I’m still deeply saddened.” The family said they would not have any closure until someone was held accountable for Siziba’s death.