CLOSURE OF COMMUNITY COURT SEES AN INCREASE IN CRIME
Written by: Samkele Sokhela
The closure of a community court in Marianhill has seen an increase in crime and the situation has now resulted to community members fearing for their lives.
According to a former Community Court Judge Nkosi (not his real name), before the year 2007 there were no problems.
Whenever a community member was found guilty in a case, they were ordered to pay damages in the form of a cow or a goat. If the member disobeyed they were banished from the area.
“The intervention of the Municipality and the introduction of Chief Bhekamanganga Shozi to our community disorganised things,” said Nkosi. “Before the year 2007 the court’s proceedings were operating well. But since Shozi’s appointment, the court has been forcibly shut down causing violence to erupt.”
He added that he refused to leave after finding out Bhekamanganga had no proper documentation proving that he was a chief, and days later his family was allegedly attacked by hitmen.
“It’s sad because I have bullet scars in my body and after the shooting incident, my family advised me to leave the whole issue because things became political, and that is not good for our community,” he said.
Shozi refused to give comment declaring that he does not discuss the area’s problems with the media.
South African Police Service (SAPS) Spokesperson, Thulane Zwane said that whenever there is a murder, the SAPS is always required to intervene but when people are fighting over land, that then becomes a civil case that does not involve them.
“If one of their cases results to murder, we get involved and arrest the accused. But when community members are fighting over land, that matter must be transferred to community leaders like Chiefs and Ndunas,” added Zwane.
A solution towards this issue remains to be seen as landowners are calling for the re-building of the community court with the hopes that it would help them reduce numbers of deaths.
*Caption: The old community court building in Marianhill