Khayelitsha residents demand justice for slain leaders

Picketers want charges reopened against those accused of murdering Zuma. Photo by Mzi Velapi

Zwelethu Occupation Movement from Khayelitsha picketed outside provincial police headquarters demanding justice for murdered leaders.

Green Point, Cape Town, South Africa

A group of community activist from Zwelethu Occupation Movement picketed outside South African Police Services provincial head office in Cape Town calling for justice for murdered leaders of the movement. In a space of three months, two leaders of the occupation, Mthunzi “Ras Moziah” Zuma and Philela Gilwa were murdered in Khayelitsha. Zuma was shot and killed while Gilwa was stabbed to death.

According to GroundUp News, an eyewitness stated that the shooting happened after they barricaded the road next to the land they were occupying. The eyewitness claimed that a car approached the barricade and the driver of the car came out and shot Zuma.

The alleged murderer, Alfred Bangani whom we later learnt that his real surname is Makinana made a brief appearance but the case was postponed because the docket was missing and since August 2015, no date was set for the next court appearance.

The occupiers suspect that the killing of Gilwa in July 2015 was politically motivated. There has been no arrest yet.

In May 2015, a group of backyarders feeling the pinch of high rental fees, occupied the land next to Khayelitsha Magistrate court and build shacks. The backyarders were from different parts of Khayelitsha.

Speaking to the police representative, Mabhelandile Twani, one of the occupiers said they have lost confidence in the police. “ We feel that the state is not neutral when dealing with activists. When we occupy land the police are quick to arrest us but when one of us is killed the case moves slowly and because of that we feel that there is no justice”, said Twani.

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In a statement handed to the South African Police Services, the occupiers state that they have exhausted all avenues including demonstrating outside Lingelethu Police Station asking for the investigator to be changed and speedily progress on the case.

“ We see the suspects everyday and that does not sit well with us. There seem to be no progress with the case even though we provided the police with information”, said one of the occupiers, Cindy Kiwana. The occupiers want both cases to be handled by investigators who are not based in Khayelitsha police stations.

Zuma’s sister, Nondumiso told Elitsha that as a family they need answers. “ Since the last court appearance where the docket was said to be missing, we haven’t heard from the police ever since”, said Zuma. She says that her brother and Philela died because they were fighting for land.

Police representative who accepted the memorandum, Brigadier Fred Alexander promised the picketers that he will investigate the progress of the cases and get back to them.

The occupiers are also demanding the cases against the occupiers to be dropped.

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