COMMUNITY FORUM ACTS AGAINST WHOONGA ADDICTS
Written by: Samkele Sokhela
June is commemorated as the youth month in South Africa, but the high level of violence shown against young whoonga addicts is still rampant, according to parents in Marianhill.
The country has seen whoonga addicts being targeted specifically in townships. Addicts have now called for safety support from the government after witnessing some of their peers being beaten to death by community forums in recent months.
“We are not happy with the way they (community leaders) are treating us. We are human beings as well. We understand that they are angry as they are accusing us of stealing from them, but they mustn’t take the law into their own hands,” said an injured Mabhuti Mthiyane, a whoonga smoker who was the latest to be beaten by a community forum in Dasssenhoek.
Rapid community violence in the area has seen three ‘whoonga’ addicts losing their lives in a space of two months.
Community forum leader Mduduzi Ngcobo (33) has defended his forum for using violence against addicts stating that they do not want to live in the same area with people who steal from them.
“These addicts have become a burden to us. We are no longer safe in our own houses. It’s hard for us now to send our children to the shops because they snatch money from them, they rape our children. So, now what must we do because even police are not doing their job?” questioned Ngcobo.
“We have then decided to take the law into our own hands because we cannot afford to live in the same area with parasites. We don’t even care whether they die or not,” added Ngcobo.
Mabhuti’s mother, Sibahle Mthiyane, believes that police have not played their part.
“Police have failed our children. They are supposed to protect our children from these barbaric people (forum),” said Sibahle Mthiyane.
“What saddens me is that my child was beaten because they accused him, but did not see him stealing. They beat our children very badly, and they are not even arrested. We have lost hope,” said Sibahle Mthiyane.
SAPS Representative, Shabo Maphoshe from the Kwa-Ndengezi Police Station, said that the public has lost its trust in police because they misunderstand the proceedings that happen after an arrest.
“People report a crime to the police. We open the case, and when the suspects go to court they are granted bail and in most cases because of insufficient evidence. It’s the courts that release suspects, not police. The public needs to understand that,” said Maphoshe.
Meanwhile, some communty members are adamant to continue taking the law into their own hands.
*Picture: Whoonga addict beaten by a local community mob