'Justice system failing women in townships' as murders surge
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Cape Town – As Africans prepare to commemorate Youth Day under the banner, “Youth Power, Growing South Africa together in the period of Covid-19”, the country is reeling from a spate of brutal murders of young women and children.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said there had been a surge in gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide since the country entered level 3 of the lockdown.
“It is a dark and shameful week for us as a nation. Criminals have descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness. It simply cannot continue,” Ramaphosa said.
He said he will deploy ministers and deputy ministers to meet community leaders in all districts across the country as part of national efforts to combat Covid-19, and during these visits will be engaging with communities on this upsurge in gender-based violence.
The Khayelitsha family of Sibongiseni Gabada, 36, have demanded justice after the man suspected of killing and hiding her body was released and subsequently rearrested at the weekend.
Gabada’s badly decomposed body was found hidden under planks outside her boyfriend’s shack in H Section on May 29.
On Saturday, a 28-year-old man was also arrested for the murder of Altecia Kotjie, 28, and her 7-year-old daughter Raynecia, of Delft.
It was believed the mother was stabbed multiple times and her child drowned in the bathroom on Friday. Her boyfriend is expected to appear in court today, charged with their murders.
Earlier this month, the brutal murder of Mossel Bay’s Naledi Phangindawo, 25, who was hacked with an axe, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, shocked the nation.
On Thursday, eight months pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, 21, was laid
to rest. She was found hanging from a tree
in Roodepoort, west of Joburg, with
multiple stab wounds to her chest.
The next day, another body of a
young woman was found dumped
under a tree in Dobsonville, Soweto.
Western Cape police
spokesperson Novela Potelwa said a
Lingelethu detective in the Gabada
murder investigation on Saturday
night traced and re-arrested a
34-year-old suspect in Khayelitsha.
“The suspect was released after
the withdrawal of charges in court
on June 8. He is in custody. The
arrest follows a decision by the
National Prosecuting Authority
(NPA) to review the withdrawal of
charges against the accused,” said
The suspect is expected to appear
in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s
Eric Ntabazalila said: “The NPA has
decided to review that decision
as a matter of urgency. We have
also requested an urgent further
investigation to be done on the
case. We will advise the family and
the public once we have made our
decision following the review.”
Gabada’s 27-year-old sister
Nomathamsanqa said yesterday that
their worst nightmare came true
when they saw the suspect walking
free last week.
“The smell of rotting
flesh and the boyfriend’s alleged
confession to his friend led to the
gruesome discovery. I believe if he
had not told anyone, he could have
disposed the body somewhere.
we did not understand with the
courts and the justice system is if
they did not have enough evidence
that he killed her, why not arrest
him for hiding her body.
“The investigating police told us
they are still not sure how she died
because the body was decomposed.
However, in his confession he claims
he had left her on May 24 and went
"When he arrived on
May 26 he found her dead in bed,
panicked, wrapped her in a blanket
and stuffed her in the bed.
“We are still angry and want
answers. We want bail to be
denied. We don’t want to see him
back in our community again,”
Nomathamsanqa said, adding
that her sister had been dating the
suspect and friends alleged he was
abusive and controlling.
An online petition calling for
bail to be denied for Phangindawo’s
alleged killer, Mlondi Ntlangulela,
received close to 14 500 signatures
Ntlangulela, 34, made a
brief appearance in the Mossel Bay
Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on
a charge of murder. The case was
postponed to June 17 for a formal
The father of two
of Phangindawo’s children remains
in custody in a correctional facility
in George. Phangindawo’s funeral is
expected to be held tomorrow.
Parliament’s presiding officers,
led by Speaker Thandi Modise and
National Council of Provinces
chairperson Amos Masondo, added
their voices to the outrage.
Parliament would continue to
intensify its oversight to ensure all
interventions against GBV were
realised, including implementation
of the decisions of the presidential
summit on GBV, overhauling and
modernising the national register of
GBV offenders, resolving problems
relating to the backlog of cases and
delays in DNA testing, and ensuring
availability of rape test kits in police
stations, they said.
Advocacy group Ilitha Labantu
said the justice system was failing
women in townships.
Siyabulela Monakali said: “We
appeal to the justice system to play
a greater role in the prosecution
of perpetrators of violence against
women because far too often our
justice system has failed our women.
“The death of one woman is a
death too many. We strongly urge
the justice system to reinstate the
case so that a thorough investigation
can be conducted and proper
court processes can be allowed to
take place until those who have
committed this atrocious crime can
be brought to book.”