Only four police vans for 57 villages in Tsomo, Eastern Cape
Community marches to police station and magistrate court to demand better policing
- Residents of Tsomo marched to their police station and the Tsomo Magistrate Court to demand more visible policing.
- The march was sparked by outrage among villagers following the violent murder of a 78-year-old grandmother from Xhume village.
- The provincial police spokesperson conceded that there are only four police vans to patrol 57 villages.
The Tsomo police station in the Eastern Cape has only four police vans to patrol 57 villages. This was revealed by provincial police spokesperson Thembinkosi Kinana in response to complaints from the Tsomo community. The furthest village is over 60kms from the town.
Earlier this week, scores of residents marched to the police station and the Tsomo Magistrate Court to demand more visible policing. The march was sparked by the violent murder of a 78-year-old grandmother from Xhume village.
Nosajini Marangxa was found dead in her house on 30 April. The community were outraged by her murder as Marangxa had previously opened a case against the 25-year-old man now accused of killing her. He had been threatening her since October last year, accusing her of witchcraft.
Marangxa’s daughter, Noround, told GroundUp that police had failed her mother.
“I took my mother to the police station to open a case, because the police didn’t come when they were called. A case was registered,” said Noround.
The man was arrested in January but was released soon after, she said.
“When the accused was released, we were not informed. He came back to live in the village and continued with the threats. When the case was dismissed in January, the magistrate said police had failed to collect enough evidence. The people this boy threatened were not called as witnesses,” she said.
Luxolo Tyhali, of the National Prosecuting Authority, said the accused is due back in court on 20 June.
Meanwhile, Tsomo residents are calling on Eastern Cape police commissioner Major-General Nomthetheleli Mene to host a crime imbizo to address police shortcomings.
Community leader Sima Qwele said, “Our mothers and grandmothers are living in fear. They are being raped and some killed. Young boys are smoking drugs and target women living alone. Sad part is that when we call the police, we don’t get assistance.”
Qwele said it often happened that when they called the police, they are told that there are no vans available.
“There’s a lot that we are not happy about at this police station. We see people being released from jail due to lack of evidence. Witnesses and victims are not called,” he said.
According to police spokesperson Kinana most of the Tsomo police station vans are at the garage for mechanical attention.
Kinana said 20 gender-based violence-related cases were opened at the station since January.
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