Members of Ilitha Labantu, accompanied by Samora Machel police, put on a motorcade in Cape Town on Thursday to call for an end to gender-based violence (GBV).
The motorcade, which went through Samora Machel, Vlei, Colorado Park and Philippi, was part of the #Uthuleleni (Why are you silent) campaign, urging communities to take a stand against violence.
Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said the police were “doing their duty” but many communities did not report gender-based violence. “So we want to raise awareness.”
Wearing yellow T-shirts, members walked alongside the motorcade through the different areas handing out domestic violence pamphlets. Some sang and addressed residents, with the sound blasting through large speakers on one of the vehicles, saying “Stop rape”, “Report rape”, “Uthuleleni”.
Samora Machel police station commander Elliot Lingani said alcohol abuse was a contributing factor to domestic violence and sexual offences, which were “prominent in our area”.
“One of the areas that has a high report of rapes is Vlei, others are Kosovo and Eyadini, and then Samora Machel itself.”
“We do make arrests as soon as the victim identifies the perpetrator,” Lingani said.
Lingani said the partnership with Ilitha Labantu, whose members worked with cases of abuse and made people aware of their rights, was important. He said the police station lacked resources but did deploy officers for active policing and crime prevention.
“We also have sector commanders who work with Samora youth to focus on awareness. The Nyanga cluster, which is in charge of the seven police stations in Nyanga, sometimes also deploys an extra vehicle or two to assist. That increases our visibility as well,” said Lingani.
A woman in tears approached the Ilitha Labantu vehicle parked outside a clinic in Samora Machel, asking for help. One of the members took her into the Kombi.
“We get a lot of this, where victims approach us at these motorcades asking for our help. Our members will take down her details, then arrange a meeting with her to hear her story,” said Monakali.
Driving along New Eisleben Road from Colorado Park, the police van accompanying the motorcade was flagged and stopped by a group of people who had tied a young man to a lamppost. They claimed he had raped a woman. The woman appeared from an open field in tears. She was taken into the organisation’s Kombi and the young man was untied and put in the police van.
But police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said no criminal case had been opened as it “was a transaction between the two parties involved”.