MEC reaches out to family of murdered woman

2015-09-10 06:00
Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi handed over bedroom linen to members of the Antonie family in Hankey. With her are Kouga councillors, led by the Executive Mayor Daphne Kettledas.
Photo:
SUPPLIED

Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi handed over bedroom linen to members of the Antonie family in Hankey. With her are Kouga councillors, led by the Executive Mayor Daphne Kettledas. Photo: SUPPLIED

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SOCIAL Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi lived up to her promise of buying furniture for a Hankey family whose house was set alight after two of their members were raped and murdered last year.

Claudia Antonie, 41, and her nephew Lukishia Plaatjies, 6, were gang-raped and brutally murdered in the house in August last year, after which the perpetrators allegedly set the house on fire in an apparent attempt to erase evidence.

The plight of the family was brought to the attention of the government during the provincial commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism on No Violence against women and Children which Kouga hosted.

Then, Sihlwayi made a commitment to procure brand new furniture for the family and to facilitate a construction of a new house with the Human Settlements MEC.

Though the furniture could not immediately be delivered due to delays by the service provider, there was proof that it was ready and safely stored in the provider’s warehouse in Port Elizabeth and would be delivered on demand of the Antonie family.

At a handover event held at the Vusumzi Landu Hall in Hankey, the family were given bedroom linen for their new beds.

“We are responding to the cries, hopelessness, the lack of confidence and the feeling of exclusion felt by this family due to the cruel manner which they lost their loved ones,” said Sihlwayi.

“We have a mandate as a department to restore the dignity of our people which for years they have been stripped of. We also have a responsibility to provide relief and some comfort for victims of abuse, such as the Antonies here,” she said.

Sihlwayi hit out hard at illegal shebeen operators whom she fingered as contributing to moral decay as they never stick to regulations such as closing times, thereby contributing to youngsters loitering at dangerous hours of the night and morning and are therefore exposed to crime, as victims or perpetrators.

“Many people engage in substance abuse as an escape from challenges such as poverty. We need to soberly confront challenges for us to be able to think of ways to bring about meaningful change,” she concluded to loud applause from the crowd.

The application for a house is now with the office of the Human Settlements MEC and is being processed. It could not be immediately confirmed when construction would start due to departmental processes that needed to be followed.

Kouga Executive Mayor Daphne Kettledas thanked the people of Hankey for rallying around the Antonie family throughout the difficult period and for ensuring that suspects of the crime were arrested within 24 hours.

“We may not be able to take away the pain completely, as it is unthinkable that human beings would commit such an act. We want to build a caring society, one where I would have my neighbour’s back and I would know that they had mine,” she said.

The Mayor thanked the department for extending a helping hand to the family. She also exposed the singer in her by leading a rendition of Cristy Lane’s One Day at a Time, dedicating the song to Wayonine Antonie, the representative of the family

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