Thandokazi Njamela’s Ordeal with Crime and SAPS Khayelitsha

Thandokazi Njamela (case one)

Thandokazi Njamela’s first incident happened in December 2009. At the time she was employed at Cubana Restaurant in Green Point in the City. The restaurant arranged taxis that would drop employees at their homes when they worked at night. She lived in Site B informal settlement and was working night shift.

She returned home at 02:00 in the morning. The taxi dropped her about 10 minutes walk away from her home. As she approached her home, she noticed that there were two men lurking in the shadows. One turned out to be the ex-boyfriend of her best friend, Andiswa Calane, whose name is Ayanda Booi. Ayanda was clearly drunk and angry.

Ayanda demanded that Thandokazi fetch Andiswa from her home. Thandokazi refused and then Ayanda hit her on her head with an unopened bottle of beer and assaulted her.   Thandokazi was knocked unconscious by Ayanda, and was taken to Site B Day Hospital.

The day after the assault Thandokazi went to the Site B Police Station to open a case.  She gave her statement and then was taken by the police in a van to go and search for Ayanda. They could not find him.

A few days later, Thandokazi saw Ayanda at a tavern in M Section, Site B. She called the police and they came and arrested him. When he was in custody Thandokazi was asked to attend an identity parade and she identified Ayanda as the perpetrator.

Later Thandokazi received a summons telling her that Ayanda would be appearing in court the following Monday and she should attend. When she was at the court Ayanda was not present and a warrant was issued for his arrest. While the court was in process the prosecutor informed the court that Ayanda had other pending cases against him, including murder. It became obvious to Thandokazi that he was out on bail for her case as well. The police never informed her that he had received bail and had been released.

In January 2010 Thandokazi moved to Green Point, Khayelitsha, because she had heard rumours that Ayanda, who lived in L Section right next to M Section, had said he would ‘deal with her’, so she moved for her safety.

Since the court date when Ayanda failed to make an appearance, Thandokazi has not heard from the police or the court.

Thandokazi co-operated with the police in tracking down Ayanda Booi; her cousin Busisiwe witnessed the crime; Ayanda received bail without Thandokazi being informed of the fact despite the violent nature of the assault; he failed to appear for his hearing when Thandokazi was present to give evidence; the prosecutor informed the court that he had previous convictions including murder yet the police failed to arrest and bring him to court again.

Later in 2010, Thandokazi’s friend Andiswa Calane informed her that Ayanda Booi had tracked down her family, who had moved from Khayelitsha because he wanted her to be his girlfriend. Andiswa and her family had lived in fear of him and when he found them he murdered her brother and sister.

Ayanda was again arrested. Early in 2011 Thandokazi saw him again. Apparently he was out on bail. As far as Thandokazi knows Ayanda is still in the community. He is known by many to be a criminal and apparently has many cases against him. There are witnesses to his crimes but people are scared of him and angry about the way he is always released on bail.

The Provincial Commissioner does not deal with this case, allegedly because it did not form part of the original November 2011 complaint.  It was one of the supplementary cases lodged by the complainant organisations. The Task Team (at paragraph 8.5.2 of their report) note that the case was withdrawn after Lieutenant Galant made a statement requesting the Senior Public Prosecutor to withdraw the case for unknown reasons.

The case provides strong evidence of incompetent or corrupt policing.

Thandokazi Njamela (case 2)

On 31 October 2010 Thandokazi was with a friend, Nwabisa Mtshana, at a tavern in H Section, Khayelitsha. After a few minutes waiting at the counter to buy a drink, they saw seven or eight people all holding guns and immediately thought that it was the police shutting down the tavern. They decided to leave but before they could do so the men opened fire on the people inside the tavern.

Thandokazi’s friend Nwabisa died at the scene – she was shot three times.  Thandokazi herself was shot six times on her right hand side.  About six or seven other people were shot. Thandokazi later learnt that the killers were not there to rob because they did not steal anything.

According to Thandokazi there were so many shots fired that one of the assailants actually died because his partners had shot and killed him.

Thandokazi was taken to the GF Jooste Hospital in Manenberg and was in a coma for four days. Two bullets are still in her body.  She was in hospital for two months.

In December 2010 or January 2011 the police came to her house and asked if she could recognise or remember any of the suspects. They showed her a photo album of people and she identified two of the suspects. They asked her if she would testify and she agreed to do so It was obvious that a case had been opened but the police did not give her any further information.

At about this time the then MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz, also came to Thandokazi’s house and told her how sorry he was. He told her that this was a priority crime and they were putting their best efforts into it. He also promised that he would arrange counselling for Thandokazi, and return to see how she was doing. He never did so. Thandokazi felt as if he was using her traumatic experience as a photo opportunity.

About two weeks after MEC Fritz came to Thandokazi she was visited by two policemen at her home. SAPS recommended to her that, for her own safety, it was best that she not be involved in the case against the suspects. They said that they were dangerous men and that if she continued to be a witness she might be in further danger. However, they did not say anything about the progress of the case or if they would continue with the investigation.

At the time, Thandokazi felt that it was best for her and her family’s safety not to be involved in the case, but at the same time, she felt that this was a terrible injustice. Thandokazi wanted justice for herself, her friend and for all the other people who had suffered; and the police did not give her the option of doing that. If they had offered her and her family protection and a way in which to pursue the case safely she would have done so.

Last year, Thandokazi went to GF Jooste Hospital in Nyanga to have a look at her patient file to see if she could take legal action.  However, there was absolutely no trace of her stay there.  Her patient file seems to have disappeared.

Since the day the police told her that she should not have been a witness she has not heard anything further from them.

According to Thandokazi, it is as if there are no police services in Khayelitsha. Nwabisa need not have died.  When she was shot, she bled to death, but the ambulance and police took too long to get there even though the police station is not far from the scene.

Thandokazi Njamela met several times with members of the Task Team and gave them detailed statements. I invite the Applicants to attach the docket and the statements given to the Task Team.

The number of grave violations of the rights of Khayelitsha residents by criminals and SAPS Khayelitsha in the cases above illustrate the urgent need for the work of the Commission to proceed without delay.

From Mandla Majola’s Founding Affidavit paragraphs 144 to 169

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