Rural communities are living in fear

A series of high profile murders and vicious assaults have left urban and rural communities in the Eastern Cape reeling in shock this month. The SAPS needs to restore public confidence by spelling out measures they will take to arrest this alarming trend.

Helena and Chris Gouws before the brutal murder of Helena in Ugie.

Two weeks ago former ANC-MP, David Dlali, was brutally murdered on his farm near Cedarville. Helena, the much-loved wife of Ugie school principal Chris Gouws, was brutally attacked and murdered. The community of Tholeni has also been terrorised by a series of murders.

In the last week in the Nelson Mandela Metropole, Broadwood domestic worker Sonia Mabedela was murdered. Rowellan Park resident David Laine was also murdered, along with Noluvuyo Tyalati, a Motherwell mother of a one year old child.

The hurt and loss to families and communities is immense. Our freedom is being destroyed on a daily basis.

These are just a few names of people who are murdered each day in the Eastern Cape. Last year 3 181 murders were reported in the province, which is an average of almost nine a day.

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Eighteen years into our new democracy communities have no real freedom from fear of the criminal element. While the top brass of the SAPS are busy fighting amongst each other, the criminals are frightening the hell out of our communities.

High visibility police patrols as well as rapid response units are critical to combat the climate of lawlessness and fear that prevails in our communities. Citizens’ calls for help need to be swiftly answered. If the police had responded to Mrs. Gouw’s desperate call for help, she would have been alive today.

The police had no vehicle available at the Ugie police station that could respond to her call, nor did one of the policemen on duty bother to jog the 400 metres from the station to her house.

The public of this province demand that the SAPS pull out all stops to ensure that there is a climate of real safety and security in the Eastern Cape. Young and old can no longer be forced to live in fear of the criminal element.