Atteridgeville burnt bodies: #NotInMyName urges community not to turn blind eye to violence
Pretoria - Civil rights movement NotInMyName International has urged community members not to ignore each other or turn a blind-eye when violence reared its ugly head within families.
The organisation’s president, Siyabulela Jentile was speaking following a visit to the family of the two minor girls, 5 and 8, whose burnt bodies were found in an abandoned building in Atteridgeville recently.
Jentile said what had happened to the family was extremely painful but also opened up the need for conversations in our society about violence in a manner that speaks to mental health issues amongst other challenges.
“How do you explain what happened here, surely it should be psychologically explained as to what was going on in the person’s mind to get them to do that kind of violence.”
“As community members, we need to come together and say if there are problems with our neighbours how can we assist them and not just look on.”
Jentile said this incident also highlighted the socio-economic issues being exacerbated by the pandemic which had left many people frustrated due to lack and loss of jobs, as well as lack of food; which often led to violence in households due to there being no coping mechanisms in place.
The children’s great-grandmother Paulinah Medupe was inconsolable during the visit stating that she and her grandchild had been fighting for some time for her to take care of her two children.
“All I wanted was for her to spend as much time with the children as she spent with her friends and boyfriend. All I wanted was for her to love and help to care for them because I’m old and sickly.”
Medupe said the quarrelling between them often escalated to a point where she would disappear for weeks without checking on the wellbeing or coming to assist with the care of her two daughters.
“We fought because she would leave them locked-up with no food or anything to eat the whole day. It would get to a point where the children would beg some of the neighbours for food or even call me to rush back due to the situation.”
The family is still to make arrangements for the burial of the children, whilst the mother remains in police custody until her next court appearance for murder on February 15 in the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court.