“Arrest rapists and murderers, or community will impose the death sentence on them,” says community leader

| Vincent Lali
Nobongile Ninini, mother of slain Bongiwe, is comforted by Neli Natal and Nomzobanzi Sgelem at yesterday’s protest.

About 150 Khayelitsha residents marched along Lansdowne Road on Monday before gathering and praying at the scene where Bongiwe Ninini (20) was murdered on 17 July.

Bongiwe was raped and murdered, and her body stuffed into an unused drain in Site C, Khayelitsha.

Yesterday’s protest was organised by SANCO, the local ANC Youth League and church leaders. The protesters sang: “rapists are dogs” as they marched down the street and prayed at the scene for the end of crime in the township.

“We appeal to Jesus to rescue us from rapists and murderers. God be with us as we gather here to comfort and support the family of the young woman who was raped and killed here,” said Pastor Nomava Kewana from Alpha and Omega Ministry. “We pray that the cops find the thugs who performed this evil act and that they answer for the crime they committed,” she continued. Kewana also prayed for the police, who also joined the gathering.

Friends and acquaintances of the murdered woman wept openly and comforted each other as Kewana continued to pray.

Bongiwe’s friend Babalwa Nyeleka (32) said women staying in the township were in the grip of fear. She said, “Thugs are finishing us off here. We have become scared to go out at night after the killing of my friend.”

“I believe she was killed by people whom she knew. That’s why they killed her after raping her,” she added.

The residents walked from the scene to the home of the Ninini family, where they continued to pray and sing church songs.

Irate community leaders demanded that the cops apprehend the culprits soon if they are to head off acts of vigilantism.

Local youth leader Nkosikhona Gqaba said, “We want the police to arrest the murderers and rapists, otherwise the residents will take the law into their hands and impose a death sentence on them.”

ANC Women’s League Branch Secretary for Ward 18, Neliswa Bomvana, said she joined the gathering to support and comfort the grieving family. “The government must play its role and protect us from thugs,” she said.

She added, “People that I know robbed me of my bag recently. We are experiencing a worrying and increasing trend where acquaintances prey upon us innocent women.”

SANCO’s Qhama Bongikhaya said, “We are hopeful that the police are turning every stone to track down the thugs and we call upon people with information to come forward and hand it to them.” He warned, “If the police are dragging their feet on the case for far too long, residents may take matters into their hands, do their own investigation and kill the thugs.”

Bongiwe’s aunt Nolusapho Gelem (49) said the family is still struggling to come to terms with the loss. “We are hurting, but we thank the community and the police for their support,” she said.

About Bongiwe, she said, “She was a respectful and sweet young woman who always bowed when she greeted elders.”

Bongiwe’s mother Nobongile Ninini (50) was too devastated to speak to journalists.

Khayelitsha Police Station commander Nomthethelele Mene said the cops had not arrested anyone for the murder yet. “The police are investigating and doing everything in their power to track down and arrest the killers,” she said. Mene said the gathering was organised to console the grieving family.

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