LIVING IN FEAR: Tholeni residents say they are satisfied with police visibility in their area after a spate of murders that has seen 19 women and their children killed in the village in the past four years. Picture: Sithandiwe Velaphi
Social development and special programmes MEC Pemmy Majodina yesterday closed the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in style by declaring an all-day campaign for the protection of women and children.
Majodina was speaking at Tholeni, a settlement at Butterworth known as the “Village of Death” after a killing spree of 19 local women and children in the past four years.
The killings, mostly by hacking, and rapes came to an end when local resident Bulelani Mabhayi was arrested.
Mabhayi, who is facing more than 20 charges ranging from murder and rape to housebreaking, has appeared three times in the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court.
He will appear again on January 29. The MEC said Tholeni village and all the villages whose residents lived in fear would always be a provincial priority.
“What we are saying now is that the protection of women and children should be an all-day campaign,” she told residents who attended yesterday’s event. Majodina said she was thrilled by the commitment displayed by Butterworth police, including its provincial management, in arresting Mabhayi.
Butterworth police station commander Col Coert Jordaan said yesterday: “Arresting Mabhayi was the biggest relief I have ever experienced at the Butterworth police station
“This case gave us sleepless nights .”
Tholeni women who spoke to The New Age yesterday said the area was starting to stabilise although they still lived in fear.
Said one woman: “At least we are confident that police are protecting us, though we are not sure if the exact suspect has been apprehended.”
Majodina urged men across the province to be responsible and make protecting women their priority.
“If all men can stand up to eliminate the abuse of women and children, everything will be fine,” she said.