Two more children were brutally murdered on Monday night in Tholeni, dubbed by locals as the “village of death”. Their mother is fighting for her life in hospital due to head injuries from a panga. Residents of Tholeni still live in fear two years after the Eastern Cape government promised to do something about improving their safety. I am determined to fight for the rights of the residents of this community so they can enjoy real freedom under our Constitution. This community has been forsaken by government.
The village, in the Butterworth area in the former Transkei, was the scene of at 12 least gruesome rape and murder cases between 2007 and 2010. It was reported in the media that many homes in the village were deserted at night, as fearful elderly women and children rallied together for safety in numbers.
The villagers believe Monday’s killings are related to the previous incidents. The 13-year-old girl died on the scene and there are signs that she was raped. Her 11-year-old brother died in hospital due to panga wounds to his head.
This community deserves better. Everyone is terrified. Street lights and a full-time police station must be brought to this village immediately. Learners, especially the young ones who knew the two murdered children and shared transport to school with them, are in need of counselling.
I have again written to the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, and I have spoken to the Superintendent-General of the department, Stanley Khanyile to request them to make good on the promises which were made to this community, particularly to ensure that a proposed flood light is in working order, as a matter of urgency.
The Democratic Alliance believes that communities have the right to live a life they can value. This means that they should also live in safety, not in fear.
In 2010 a mobile police station was arranged, the Legislature’s Women’s Caucus had a door-to-door programme leaving deliverables and the government portrayed that it cared for this community. A big event for International Women’s Day was held in Butterworth in honour of the women raped and killed in Tholeni. Promises were also made for a flood light in the middle of the village to illuminate the area at night.
Since then the mobile SAPS unit has left, no patrols take place at night, and while the flood light was erected by the Amathole District Municipality, it has never worked. This community still lives in fear for the safety of its women and children.
Everything the government does should be to make a better life possible for the people of South Africa. Where the DA governs, it has showed that we deliver opportunity for all.