Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-09-23
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Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Friday (20th September) visited Lenasia to pay her respects to the family of the two elderly sisters who were savagely murdered in the suburb, south of Johannesburg.
Mkonyane along with MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi and MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko, visited the Ext 11A home of the sister’s brother, Shabier Ghora.
Angry community members including many children lined the streets with placards calling for justice and a stop to crime in Lenasia.
Later Mokonyane addressed the angry residents in the bid to tackle issues brought forward by the community.
The Premier was bombarded with questions from the frustrated residents and the demand for something be done to alleviate the high crime rate in Lenasia irked the minster.
Shouting at a resident the minister said, “I am not finish Ismail (referring to Ismail Vadi who tried to calm the situation), no, no, no. You know what, I can also leave, I can leave. If there’s no respect for one another, I will go, I will leave… I am saying we are all adults. Don’t do something on somebody that you’ll not want anybody to do it unto you. Keep your mouth shut!”
“That’s not acceptable. Respect, begets respect. I am sorry it’s not acceptable the way you addressed this gentleman,” shouted another resident to Mokonyane.
However the controversial remarks by the Premier did not end there. Speaking to Radio Islam’s Mufti Moosagie on the afternoon drive program Al Masaa on Friday (20 September), Mokonyane said communities must rid themselves of criminals.
“You must take back the issue not to government and say how often what is government doing. Communities must rid themselves of criminals. It is our communities that know the drug lords, like that suspect who has been arrested. It’s somebody who lives not more than 20 meters away from the house of those individuals,” said Mokonyane.
Mokhonyane added, “It’s not police that can deal with those issues. It’s the community that must reclaim, and give care to those that are most vulnerable, senior citizen, women and children.”
“The issue is not how often I’ve been to Lenasia because we got more than one hundred townships and police stations in the province…Just today in the morning, five men who were disguised as ordinary Muslim men wearing the Muslim dress walked into a B & B in Lenasia, knocked and the lady innocently opened the door and they mugged her.”
Mokonyane said its issues like this where communities should become intolerant of these crimes because some of the crimes happen in the neighbourhood where the suspects are known to the community.
The Premier assured the community that she made an undertaking to look at the issues that are being raised. But warned community members that any other person that wants to be involved in crime prevention must do that within the confines of the law.
“Nobody must jump the line and want to do the work of the South African police service because it’s not the responsibility of civilians to do that,” emphasized Mokonyane.
Contributing to an on air discussion on Radio Islam about Mokonyane’s comments, a listener sent in an e-mail that read:
“Moulana, Nomvula was downright arrogant and she came across as insensitive to the desperate condition of crime in Lenz. Her statement that communities must rid themselves of criminals is absolutely ludicrous coming from head of police. Mentioning Muslim men is highly unprofessional and smacks of religious profiling. Is she not aware that Lenasia consists of Hindu’s, Tamils, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and people from many religious affiliations.
If she really wants to make this an issue using profiling than one can also argue on a daily basis people in Lenasia are confronted by criminals and more often, than not 99% of the time the criminals are from the African community.
Politicians with arrogance don’t last, they spell their own doom.
One caller dispelled claims the minister was arrogant saying: "What is important in what I think she was trying to allude to…Obviously she is a politician and we expect a lot from her. But I think she was referring to the fact that the community has to be careful. When you have people in a particular garb, it might have been an innocent remark that you don’t just open the doors to anybody that you know," said the caller.
“If we want to play politics, with it there is a lot that can be done about it but we also have to be circumspect in dealing with the situation,” added the caller.
The community of Lenasia were angry after the gruesome murder. Many Radio Islam listeners felt that being a government official and the Premier of Gauteng province, Mokonyane should have been more diplomatic and sensitive to the anger and frustration of the community.