The police top brass this week vowed to tackle the scourge of gender-based violence in the Eastern Cape.
This follows recent murders of women by their partners in the province.
On Friday, the deputy national commissioner Lieutenant-general Bonang Mgwenya, accompanied by provincial commissioner Lieutenant-general Liziwe Ntshinga and members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) senior managers visited the home of 35-year-old Noloyiso Gengqa, who was killed by her boyfriend.
The mother of two was shot dead on Monday by her lover at Mandleni Junior Secondary School in Tabase village in Mthatha where she worked. A week ago in Dutywa, not far from Mthatha, 19-year-old Wits University student Asithandile “Kwasa” Zozo, was stabbed to death by her 22-year-old ex-boyfriend after she dumped him.
As Women’s Month comes to an end, the police bosses said they were shining the spotlight on the province where cases of gender-based violence have spike recently.
“We condemn this ugly act of this suspect who has been arrested.
“We want to commend the police because they were able to arrest the suspect within 24 hours. We also want to say we are going to ensure as members of the SAPS as well as the women’s network within the SAPS that the suspect is brought to book and gets what he deserves for killing the young woman,” said Mgwenya.
She said what made matters worse was that Gengqa was murdered during Women’s Month.
The suspect is expected to appear in at the Mthatha Magistrates’ Court on Thursday on a murder charge.
Mgwenya said the police would not be able to fight and win the war against gender-based violence on their own, hence they were partnering with the communities to raise awareness and educate the public about the scourge.
“We are encouraging women [to report any abuse]. That is why we communicated to the family of Noloyiso that people must not keep quiet when their daughters are being abused.
“We encourage them [families] to go to the police and report if their daughters are being abused. Parents should not keep quiet until it’s too late, they must report it immediately,” she said.
Ntshinga said the police were worried about the murders of women in the province.
“We condemn the killing of women ... that is why you see us all over the province. We started on Sunday here in the OR Tambo [District Municipality] as this is a hotspot for women killings. We want to end the killing of women,” she said.
She said the crimes were happening behind closed doors, hence it was important to bring the community on board. Ntshinga called on men, as perpetrators of these crimes, to change their mentality.
“We want men to oversee these awareness campaigns against gender-based violence because when we do these campaigns ourselves our focus and message is directed towards men.”
She said gender-based violence was destroying the nation as mothers were being killed.
“So, rest assured that the police in the Eastern Cape are taking this very seriously. It is our number one crime focus area,” Ntshinga said.
Meanwhile, the man accused of killing Zozo abandoned his bail application when he briefly appeared in the Dutywa Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Viwe Rulumeni first appeared last Thursday charged with murder. After the state indicated that it was for his bail application, Rulumeni’s attorney informed the court that he no longer wanted to be released on bail. The matter was postponed to October 6.
Rulumeni allegedly assaulted, choked and stabbed Zozo in full view of several people on August 17 and later attempted to commit suicide.
This week the Mthatha Regional Court jailed Warrant Officer Mhlobo Mpela (52) for raping a woman who was awaiting trial.
Ntshinga welcomed the 18-year jail sentence.
“I was over the moon [with the sentence]. I was happy to see that happening to one of our own. You know people think that police are immune [from being arrested]. We arrest everybody. So, if you are perpetrating gender-based violence to us you are nothing. You are a criminal. So we are happy with the sentence imposed on the police officer. For us it was a victory, especially during Women’s Month,” Ntshinga said.