A farewell to a crime buster

2017-02-09 06:01
 The late Nyameko Khabingesi.

The late Nyameko Khabingesi.

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Last Thursday, one of our own, Nyameko Khabingesi, succumbed to a gun wound.

The bullet inflicted two weeks earlier by criminals who, rather regrettably, have taken over our streets and are a constant threat to the lives of law abiding citizens.

And in the very week that this activist ultimately gave in, three Somali shop owners were gunned down in three separate robbery incidents.

This is indicative of our state of affairs. One of the foremost freedom fighters of our times, Amilcar Cabral, cautions us to tell no lies; to claim no easy victories; to mask no difficulties. Truth be told, we are losing the fight against crime. Whereas in the past criminals targeted us in open fields and deserted passages, now they target us in our own homes.

The law enforcers leave their homes with no certainty that they will see their loved ones again. Criminals no longer focus on soft targets, robbing highly guarded precincts and even police stations.

And comrade Khabingesi is not the first leader of society to fall victim to the whim of a criminal.

But must it be so that the best amongst us are chosen to fall in such despicable ways, the length of their contribution to society determined by its scum?

What conclusions must generations to come make of our worth if we simply submit to such ills, permitting that we be handicapped by the ‘might’ of those we should be mightier than? Was it not us, I ask, who once upon an epoch, faced cannons of an oppressive regime with mere stones and triumphed? What happened to that courage and determination?

Comrade Khabingesi had dedicated his life to the service of men. He was a community leader who strived for the upliftment of his people and society at large. He was a committed cadre of the African National Congress. He served SANCO with distinction. He was forthright, always speaking his mind whenever the need arose. Comrade Khabingesi was a champion of the interests of our young. He believed that our youth constituted the cornerstone of our society. Greater emphasis should be made with regard to empowering our youth. Oliver Reginald Tambo cautioned us thus: “A country, a movement, that ignores its youth has no future. And, more importantly, a nation that ignores its youth deserves no future.” We have long identified the young as both the foremost perpetrators and victims of crime. We lose him to a scourge whose elimination he would have contributed.

The murder of comrade Khabingesi should strengthen our resolve against crime. We intend to once again march to the Site B police station to highlight our plight. This should be followed by an imbizo one crime. The people of Thembokwezi and Site C must form a united front against crime, in all its manifestations. Crime remains our greatest diseconomy, discouraging investment in our area and threatening the livelihoods of thousands. Working together we can reclaim our streets. Working together we can restore the sanctity of our places of retreat. And truly, together we can do more to honour comrade Khabingesi.

The Greater Site C district (and this includes Thembokwezi) needs the services of a fully-fledged police station. Whilst we are grateful for the mobile satellite police unit, the reality is that it is not enough to tackle the problem at hand. In this regard, we, the people of Khayelitsha can best honour the memory of comrade Khabingesi by working towards the realisation of this goal. As we bid comrade Khabingesi a revolutionary farewell, we must recommit ourselves to the struggle of the people as defined by the challenges of the hour. In this regard, we must reaffirm our commitment to the fight against crime, in all its manifestations. We must continue to demand that our territory be given the same level of prioritisation as the affluent areas of our city. We must demand the deployment of more crime fighting resources where the scourge is most prevalent. And, ultimately, we must move from crime fighting to preserving safety and security.

Lastly, and more important, comrade Khabingesi believed in unity. He was forever eager to engage. We would do good to press ahead with efforts to unite the immediate and the broader, in conformity with his innermost beliefs.

We end by declaring that we shall do all we can, all hands on deck, to ensure that he who pulled that trigger is identified and dealt with by the full might of the law. This hour calls us to action. This hour pleads with the conscience of each and everyone of us. All forces to the battle front. We have nothing but our chains to lose. The people of Thembokwezi form a guard of honour for this servant of the people. And our hearts and prayers are with his family during this hour of grief. This too shall come to pass. But consequences must follow.

. Kholekile Mwahla is the chairperson of the Thembokwezi Residents Associations

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