‘No one cares about us because we’re black’

By Zodidi Dano, Siyavuya Mzantsi And Dominic Adriaanse Time of article published Mar 11, 2016

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Zodidi Dano, Siyavuya Mzantsi, and Dominic Adriaanse

Cape Town - The family of a Khayelitsha teen who was murdered and shoved into a toilet bowl last week have been left angered and claimed no one cared about them because they were black.

Sinoxolo Mafevuka’s family made these comments in the wake of the reaction to the murder of teenager Franziska Blöchliger near Tokai Forest.

Police were yet to take statements from Mafevuka’s family, while there have been three arrests for Franziska’s murder.

Mafevuka, 19, was found dead last Tuesday in a communal toilet with her head forced into the toilet bowl while the rest of her body faced the toilet door.

Read: Body found standing in communal toilet

The incident took place in SST Section in Harare, Khayelitsha.

A week later, another teen’s murder was reported.

Franziska’s body was found by police and Kirstenhof Crime Watch in Dennedal Road on Monday just hours after she had been reported missing.

She was robbed of her iPhone and her mother’s red tracking watch.

Two days later, police arrested three men in connection with Franziska’s murder, while the family of Mafevuka had not even made statements to the police.

Comparisons between the police’s treatment of the murders followed, as people followed the developments in the two cases.

Read: A tale of two teen murders

Mafevuka’s family said the last time they saw police was on the morning they identified the body.

Mafevuka’s cousin Dan Mtana said: “We saw the Tokai murder on television.

“But it made us realise that no one cares about us, because we are black.

“I mean, when the Tokai murder occurred police focused all their energy on it. What about my sister? We are angry.”

During an impromptu briefing on the state of the investigation into Mafevuka’s death, Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu lashed out at the police’s handling of the murder, saying it “perpetuated racism” in the Western Cape and that “black lives are not valuable”.

“What annoyed me is that it seemed police focused on the Tokai case and not Sinoxolo’s case.”

During the heated meeting at Site B police station, Sotyu told Khayelitsha cluster commander Major-General Brigadier Johan Brand and a group of detectives she was unhappy with the reports.

“Don’t tell us you are getting the Tokai murderers only, communicate on any developments on the Khayelitsha case as well.”

Read: Have Tokai killers been caught?

Sotyu questioned the police’s communication strategy.

“Everything is about Franziska and not Sinoxolo. I have now instructed them (police) to communicate equally.

“Report on all developments even if we don’t make arrests, show that we are committed in finding the culprits.”

“I want to be bold when I see the parents of Sinoxolo and tell them these people will be arrested, I don’t want to have doubts when I tell them that. You will not sleep. Look for the people who did this,” she said.

Brand said they had two investigators deployed to deal with the case.

He said the police could not stop rapes from happening inside the toilets.

“Minister, it is not true that the case is not receiving attention, that I can guarantee you and the leadership of Khayelitsha. We have got Sergeant Davids and a second investigator Sergeant van Niekerk. They are dealing with the Sinoxolo case. The crime scene, it was done properly,” said Brand.

He said an “informant” had provided them with nicknames of three possible suspects, but this needed to be verified.

“The reason (we) haven’t made an arrest is because we are waiting for the (DNA) to link the possible suspects with the Sinoxolo case. If it comes to a case in Khayelitsha, I give it priority like any other case. I am frustrated,” said Brand.

At the Mafevuka home, the detective handling the case was in the hot seat. The family said they had “never met him before”.

He defended himself, saying he had asked the family to report to the police station the day after the murder to make statements.

But Sotyu was not impressed with his reply: “You cannot expect a grieving family to come to the police station. You come to them. I am so disappointed,” she said.

On Thursday Erin Plante, of Integrity Labs, offered a R50 000 reward for information which would lead to the arrest of Sinoxolo's killer.

Cape Times and Cape Argus

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