‘Tatane died in vain’

2016-08-03 06:00
LEFA TATANE (47) says his brother, Andries Tatane (33), died in vain. Andries was killed in 2011 during a service deli-very protest in Meqheleng, Ficksburg. Photo: Selloane Khalane

LEFA TATANE (47) says his brother, Andries Tatane (33), died in vain. Andries was killed in 2011 during a service deli-very protest in Meqheleng, Ficksburg. Photo: Selloane Khalane

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SHOT dead during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg, the family of activist Andries Tatane says his death was in vain.

On 13 April 2011, 33-year-old Tatane was killed by police after a service delivery protest had turned violent.

Tatane’s brother, Lefu Tatane (47), says the death of his younger brother was in vain, despite efforts made by the Free State provincial government to cushion the loss of a loved family member that was also the sole breadwinner.

Speaking to Express Eastern Free State on Monday, 25 July, Lefu expressed his disappointment in the justice system after the Ficksburg Regional Court had acquitted the seven police officers accused of the death of his brother in 2013.

“The case was riddled with political interference,” Lefu says.

“He loved the ANC, but it failed him even in death.”

Andries was one of the many protestors who marched against corruption at the Setsoto Local Municipality, for access to clean water, the eradication of bucket toilets in the Meqheleng Township and against sewer spillages.

The wife of the slain activist, Rose Tatane, is now employed as a cleaner at the Setsoto Municipality.

Lefa’s calm veneer unravels when he speaks of the battles fought by his family to get compensation for Rose and Andries’s two children from the provincial government.

He says two weeks after the family buried Andries, construction of an RDP house began at the family homestead.

“The house was only completed this year in April,” he said.

A five-year battle with the provincial government ensued as Lefa and his sister fought for the completion of the house that was left without roof for over four years.

The five-roomed grey house remains unoccupied and Lefa says the house is a painful reminder of the death of a man that died fighting for a better life, promised by the ANC.

Lefa’s strained voice cannot hide the burning pain of injustices endured by the Tatanes following the death of Andries.

“The world watched us grieve and I still seek closure,” he says.

As a Maths and Biology tutor at the local library, Andries was known for helping others and had initiated programmes that transformed his community.

With municipal local elections approaching, Lefa now campaigns for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

A former loyal supporter of the ANC, Lefa says the ruling party needs to go back to Batho Pele principles and put its constituents ahead of “stomach politics”.

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