Abahlal’eMdantsane losing confidence in Police bathi; “Sizozilwela”

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“They even stabbed my dog, Fel’emntwini”

“The only thing that will help us now is standing up for our neighbourhood, the future of our kids and return to the old ways of community patrols. Clearly police are failing on their own”

By: Sanele James

The night of Saturday March 7, 2015, NU16 eMdantsane; left residents advocating for community police forum (CPF) patrols at night as they predict a “turf war”.

The night of ‘amasikizi and khenkce-khenkce’ left Tembani Bojana from NU15 dead. Tembani is believed to have been attacked while fixing his broken-down vehicle on the roadside metres between the Inyibiba police station and the AMG lounge. While Andile Sitole and Nceba Siwendu were attacked at the hangout spot leaving them riddled with stab wounds. They were attended to at the Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital and discharged Tuesday, March 10.

About the night Nceba says; “I was chilling outside, smoking, when I heard a group of young men singing towards the direction of the AMG lounge.

“People started running around screaming. I went to check what was happening, five of the boys approached me asking for loose cigarettes. I told them that I was selling the cigarettes.

“Two drew knives and aggressively snatched the cigarettes, I flinched. The others shouted instructions; …akagcwali lo mxhaka… take the phone too…

“They stabbed me but because I always carry my knife, I stabbed them back in self-defence”.

Then Nceba’s friend, Andile Sitole, happened upon the scene shouting; “Kwenzekani majita?”. Where ‘the boys’ are said to have replied with; “Wabuza imibuzo, ulipolisa wena?” Andile was then stabbed several times.

“They even stabbed my dog, Fel’emntwini,” adds Nceba.

“Ndazama ke unqandela itshomi yam, they stepped away from him [Andile] and that gave me a chance to push him inside the tavern”. More guys emerged from the dark singing; “asithanga nqa,” a war-cry said to be the gang’s credo.

Andile says police were called, “but kwathiwa akukho zimoto pha eNyibiba police station”. Perplexed he asks; “Imoto yantoni, i-Police station ilapha ecakwendlu?”

He continues; “At that point everybody was bleeding, I couldn’t tell who-was-who but the guys couldn’t get closer to me,” and adds; “I don’t know how and when the fight stopped but it started at about 08:00pm and ended at [around] 10:00pm,” which is; “when they [allegedly] went to kill lamjita,” and postulates; “If amapolisa ayefike ngelaxesha esabizwa, ngewayengafanga lamjita. Wona azofika late ehamba ne paramedics”.

About his injuries Andile says; “People thought I was dying but never. They don’t call me ‘Mzimb’oqinile’ for nothing.

“Baninzi abantu abahlatywayo ngalamini, kwamntu osendleleni zazimhlaba, zithathe imali ne phone,” and that; “kwalapha endleleni kuthiwa zazihamba zicula; ‘Asithanga nqa’.

About abahlali Nceba says; “apha ekasi bazicuphile because after lamini sisoloko silindele nantoni na engenzeka. Zalinge nje zalahla nazo, kuzo#yiwa”.

“This is not the end nor the beginning. Incidents of this nature have been happening but they were not severe as that of the 7th,” said Umhlali Ongazicazanga.

“Should we see one of the boys belonging to the Pitbulls gang loitering around our neighbourhood; we will hammer them into pulp,” he added.

Mdantsane SAPS Spokesman, Capt. Mluleki Mbi, confirmed that 10 murder, robbery, assault and possession of stolen property suspects of an estimated 20 had been arrested. Two minors among those arrested have been released under parental supervision.

“According to victims, the suspects stormed a hangout spot in NU16 and randomly attacked the occupants. They also snatched cell-phones and wallets which were later found upon their arrest.

“All the arrested are from NU1, aged between 17 and 23 years and they are also linked to the murder of a 20-year-old man who was stabbed to death while attending to his broken down vehicle,” Capt. Mbi said.

Statistics South Africa, in its 2011 Census, has it that reported criminal activities eMdantsane declined from 5 796 in 2004 to 3 875 in 2013.

Whilst NU16 residents have it that; “The only thing that will help us now is standing up for our neighbourhood, the future of our kids and return to the old ways [of] community patrols. Clearly the local police are failing on their own”

Department of Police spokesman, Musa Zondi, urged residents, to work with the police in fighting crime, saying; “[The] Police cannot do it on their own, people shouldn’t be afraid of the police,” and that; “helping us fight crime doesn’t mean people should take the law into their own hands”.

About the crime statics he said; “Yes, the stats show that the number of reported crimes has gone down. However, this may not mean crime has gone down, it is the number of reported crimes that has gone down”.

Zondi explains; “There are people who never report incidents because they have lost confidence in the police service and hope to avenge themselves,” and that these are people who; “often say, ‘what is the use? the perpetrator will be released in three months’

“If perpetrators get bail, that has nothing to do with the police service or their work ethic. They have done their job which is to investigate and arrest perpetrators, and from there it is the justice system not the police. Police officers are not judges,” adds Zondi.

About CPF patrols and working relations with police, Sowana Somgadi, Mdantsane CPF Chairman, says; “the CPF hasn’t been effective enough in parts of the township in helping to fight crime,” and that; “Into esiphezukwayo ngoku kukuhlaziya intsebenziswano phakathi kwamapolisa nabahlali.

“Le ntsebenziswano izosinceda kakhulu kuba ikwayiyo eye ikhuthaze abahlali ukuba baze ngaphambili xa kukho into eyenzekayo engekhosemthethweni”.

Somgadi also said, following a CPF meeting of March 27 patrols had begun but are not yet scheduled vigils.

Sonwabo Dlanjwa, umhlali eNU16, says; “we will defend our neighbourhood.

“We cannot be terrorised by impatha [armatures]. If its war they want, then its what they will get. There are places where imoto zamarhati [police vehicles] ezingakwaz’uhambakuzo and that limits their services to us. Sizozilwela”

He infers; “The ‘Pitbull’ gang didn’t just go all the way from NU1 for lousy cell phones and cigarettes, they were out for blood and soon [they] will be walking free on the streets”.

Zondi warns against vigilantes; “Let me warn all those who undermine the law and the justice system subsequently taking the law into their own hands. You will suffer the consequences. The law won’t say who started [it]?”

The ‘March 7’ accused appeared in the Mdantsane magistrate’s court March 19, facing charges of: murder, robbery, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of stolen property. The local daily, reported that; “three of the accused; Lebo Mabi, Nkosikhona Dike and Xola Neke abandoned their bail applications when magistrate Donna-Jane Marais raised the matter”, opting to await trial in custody.

Further, co-accused’s; Lihle Ndimbongo, Azola Ndlazi, Sabatha Dana, Thanduxolo Majamani and Lutho Vinjwa, bail applications were turned down March 31 on grounds of “failure to prove exceptional circumstances”.

The accused remain in police custody and are expected to appear at the Magistrate’s court April 30. A manhunt for the suspects at large is said to be underway.

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