Hundreds of women, mainly from the ANC Women’s League and female students from the St John’s College in Mthatha, have marched and delivered a petition of grievances to the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court, calling for swift arrest and prosecution of gender-based violence and femicide perpetrators.
The march, held on September 9, came after the recent murder of St John’s College Grade 11 learner, Tandiswa Molefe (16), whose body was found next to a bridge at Waterfall Township, near Ngangelizwe on September 4, after being reported missing on September 1.
Police were yet to make an arrest.
The marchers further called on police and the courts to expedite the court cases of Noluvuyo Nonkwelo-Ndema, whose body was found buried under a bathtub, after she went missing in 2019 and that of Hombakazi Mtengwana who was found murdered, allegedly by her boyfriend, in Northcrest Mthatha, last month.
“Women are not safe in our country and we want the justice system to be harsh on perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide.
“Our main demand is for the perpetrators not to be granted bail, as some of those accused and arrested for these heinous crimes would boast about what they have done and being out on bail,” said OR Tambo District Municipality Executive Mayor, Thokozile Sokhanyile, reading from the petition.
Senior magistrate, Nwabisa Jumba, together with Madeira Police Station Commander, Colonel Thaynne Petzer, received the petition from the women, on behalf of the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court and South African Police Service respectively.
Jumba, while accepting the petition, committed the justice system to ensuring that the perpetrators of GBV and femicide were punished.
“Gender-based violence is a national priority within the SAPS and we, therefore, pledge to expedite the investigations and, where there is clear evidence of such crimes, ensure that there is successful prosecution and that the perpetrators are brought to book,” Colonel Petzer concluded.