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The Western Cape Men’s Forum took to the streets of Site C in Khayelitsha to picket against gender-based violence on Thursday, 27 July. This comes after 18-year-old Sikelelwa Mona’s lifeless body, from Taiwan informal settlement, was found a few metres away from her home on Saturday, 8 July. Mona was allegedly given a drink mixed with ‘eye drops’ before she was raped and killed, allegedly by two neighbours who have been arrested.

“We have decided to picket today, because we have noted that this area has seen quite a number of [GBV] incidents and there is no outcry and neither are there programmes in place by community leadership attempting to address the issue of GBV,” explained Olwethu Thetyane, a member of the WC Men’s Forum.

The picket was joined by the ward councillor, community members, traditional and religious leaders, and workers from protection services. It started at the taxi rank and moved to Mona’s home where a prayer and words of comfort were shared.

“We are here today as the Men’s Forum to say that it is not all men that rape and kill, but some men. Today symbolises that now is the time to stand and fight gender-based violence, stand together and not fight amongst ourselves,” said Reverend Xolamzi Sam.

Mona, a grade 12 learner at Intlanganiso Secondary School, is set to be buried on Saturday 29 July in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape. “We are heartbroken as a family and would like to thank you all for the support,” said John Magalagaqa, family spokesperson and uncle to Sikelelwa. He asked for everyone to keep the family in their prayers as they leave to bury their loved one.

Ward 87 councillor Khayalethu Kama, who was present at the picket, said there have been too many GBV incidents this year alone in Taiwan. “In April, there was a case of a 13-year-old girl who was raped and killed. During the Easter weekend, women were sexually assaulted by young boys in a church, and now it is Sikelelwa,” said Kama.

The councillor noted that these are only some of the few cases that actually come to light and that many go unreported. He assured the residents that he is working closely with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to ensure that investigations in these cases progress. “We are tired of always engaging leaders; there is no time for that now. We are going to shout to every community and make sure that law enforcement does their job and that families of victims receive fair and adequate justice,” said Thetyane.

A report by City Vision states that the accused appeared in the Khayelitsha magistrate’s court on 17 July, with the case being postponed to 3 August.