Women in Centane, in the Eastern Cape, say not enough is being done to protect them from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the area.
Community members paid their last respects to 69-year-old Nofirst Koko on Saturday. She was brutally murdered and villagers claim the suspect is roaming around freely.
Koko is said to have been raped and strangled to death. The family is battling to come to terms with her murder.
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Her nephew, Dyolisi Madarha, says her body was discovered by a child.
“Her body was discovered lying next to a kraal by a child. She went to call elders and that’s when we made the gruesome discovery. We are saddened and we live very painful lives in this area. We don’t know what to do because we are not protected by the police. When it’s an important person, they activate 72-hour operations, but with us, nothing is being done. We feel neglected,” says Madarha.
Community member, Phumzile Mpozolo, says she sleeps with a spear on her bed for protection.
“When I sleep, I put my spear on top of my bed to protect myself. We don’t feel safe and we are targeted as the elderly. There’s high unemployment and drug use, which is a major contributing factor to these kids to do these things. We are scared of our own children,” Mpozolo says.
A painful reminder
The murder reminded them of other family members who passed away in similar circumstances in 2010.
Community member, Nofenitshala Kotoyi, says the community is hopeless.
“This funeral and the way this grandmother was murdered invokes memories of how their mother was murdered. We are hopeless we don’t know what to do. People don’t get arrested,” laments Kotoyi.
Another community member, Thobeka Damoyi, says they are reliving the pain again.
“My sister is right, we are reliving our pain once again. She is the one who discovered our mother in such a state and she never recovered. No one ever got arrested and this is a trend. We are pleading for assistance,” adds Damoyi.
Police closing in on suspects
Police say they are aware of a crime problem in the area and are closing in on suspects.
Eastern Cape Police Spokesperson, Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana, says arrests have been made in some of the cases while investigations are continuing in others.
“The SAPS indeed confirms incidents have been reported in the localities of Centane. I must say arrests have been made in some of these cases whilst investigations are continuing in others. Some of these cases are in the courts of law. We are optimistic more arrests will be made. I must state that femicide and gender-based violence is one of our priority crimes. All those who continue violated the right of women and children will be dealt with harshly through the might of the law,” adds Kinana.
The community says a spate of rape cases in the area remain unsolved.