PRETORIA – Violence against women and children has risen in South Africa because of incompetence of the South African Police Service (SAPS) members and was exacerbated by corruption by police officers, the #NotInMyNameSA campaign said on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists outside the Mamelodi police station, east of Pretoria, #NotInMyNameSA president Siyabonga Jentile lambasted the local police station, and the SAPS in general for the unabated crimes which have left many South Africans dead particularly in townships.
“We are going to police the police. The days of drinking coffee and giving people bad attitude are over. You get into the police station and they make you feel like they are doing you a favour. They treat people as if they [police officers] are coming from the Red Cross and they are here to assist the poor people of South Africa. These are the same people we live with in the townships,” said Jentile.
“We are also saying the necessary training must be given to these police officials to be able to deal with cases of people with disabilities and special needs. These people in our police stations are clueless, and the take the easy way out. A 10-year-old girl who can’t speak is reported missing and you tell the family to go back and come back after 24 hours. Is your brain upstairs working?”
The Mamelodi police station has recently come under severe criticism after the death of 10-year-autistic girl Katlego Joja, who had gone missing, only for her lifeless body to be found, days later floating in the Moretele River in the township.
Joja’s family says police office officers repeatedly turned them away when they sought to open a missing person report, instructing them to wait for a 24-hour period to lapse.
“That child could not speak, she was limited in her expression. Are the police saying in those 24 hours that little girl will finally gather enough courage and strength to express herself saying she is Katlego Joja, I live at so and so in Mamelodi. What are these people being paid to do here? Are you being paid to just wear uniforms, and have guns and look cool and heroic?” said Jentile.
“We know that the SAPS has work that is doing which is good, but we cannot applaud a fish for swimming. It’s your job. You are supposed to do that, and you are paid to do that.”
Secretary general of the #NotInMyName campaign Themba Masango said heads must roll within the police service in relation to Joja’s death.
“The Premier [David Makhura] said heads are going to roll with regards to “Katli” Joja’s disappearance, and ultimate death, we would like to know who, when and how they are going through that process. We want to make sure what measures are in place to train our police to ensure that they are competent. What is wrong with our training? They need to ensure that competent people are put here [at the Mamelodi police station],” said Masango.
“Why is it that it has to be in townships, and rural areas that our people have to face brutal incompetence? That 24-hour [waiting period] nonsense, we cannot stand for that. The law must take its course. Parliament must do the right thing. [ANC parliamentarian facing new charges of assaulting a woman] Mduduzi Manana must go, and he must go with immediate effect.”
Last week, hundreds of Mamelodi learners gathered under the #NotInMyNameSA banner, demanding justice and action in the case of “Katli” Joja.
African News Agency/ANA