Our South African skies wept on Tuesday as a 9-year-old girl was laid to rest.
Little Sadia was shot in a botched car hijacking in Chatsworth on Monday morning. Despite being rushed to the local hospital‚ she succumbed to a gunshot wound in the stomach.
Sadia and her dad, Pastor Shailendra Sukhraj‚ were leaving their home near a secondary school on Monday morning when they were accosted by three armed suspects. The hijackers drove away with Sadia. Frantic and fraught with worry, the father and an off duty police officer shot at the vehicle. The hijackers hit a truck and lost control of the vehicle in a nearby park. One of the men was arrested, another died near the vehicle and a third man escaped.
The hospital emergency unit was flooded with cries of disbelief and anguish, the parents devastated at the loss of their “princess” and the local community residents of South Africa were united in grief as news of the shooting were broadcast.
South Africa has seen violence and house-breakings but Sadia’s passing has created an uproar and the residents of Chatsworth protested by banding together outside the Chatsworth police station. All were united in their grief and adamant that another the streets needed to be safe for all the children. Unfortunately, the police officers used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. What was intended to be a peaceful gathering turned ugly as people were hurt, an old man was shot and had to be hospitalised. Some of the protesters were jailed with bail being set at a R1000 each. Attorneys came forward to assist the protesters at no cost. The police department was slated for their callous behaviour to the resident. The jailed hijacker feared for his life as the community was enraged, some calling for mob justice as most of us have been beset by violence recently.
Bayview Community Policing Forum (CPF), Chairperson Brandon Pillay said he was “disturbed and disappointed at the reaction of the police. These were community members who were quite emotional after the death of this child. They decided to come there in an act of solidarity to her. They were saying that those responsible should be brought to justice. Instead of listening to an emotional and broken community, police tried to break them even more. Police ‘did not want to listen’.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the protest was violent and added that at least 1 000 community members marched to the police station.
“They were burning tyres, blockaded the road and hurled objects at the station premises. Police had to use stun grenades to disperse the unruly crowd.”
Gwala called on community members to “exercise their right to protest peacefully by communicating their grievances in a peaceful manner”
“There are community leaders within the community that must also be used by community members to engage in peaceful talks or meetings with SAPS. The protest of whatever nature should be conducted in a peaceful manner and within the rule of the law.”
Gwala said police would “continue to act firmly against” any acts of violence.
The protestors disagreed with this statement, the issue of racism was raised when protesters cited that the police department stood down when accosted by blacks. However, it has emerged that the rainbow nation decided to stand firm, little Sadia’s innocent life was cut short due to the excessive spate of violent attacks. Their principle is “Justice and fairness for all law abiding citizens. Government needs to get harsh with these kinds of criminals – not stick them in prison and then the criminals have an easy life, paid with taxpayers money.” People called for the death penalty.
A direct quote from Kiran Deolal :
I’m so proud of our community, today at exactly 18:00 we came in our numbers. We showed that we not afraid. Government needs to know. No party can help in this situation. I call it community empowerment. Our voice needs to reach the union buildings! I am not afraid anymore. Enough is enough! I just need to add, the police are doing their job. From reliable sources we need to work with them. It’s government that is the problem. They are not providing our police stations with the necessary equipment and manpower vehicles to combat crime. No Party is capable of fighting for the community!!!! We have to take a stand as a community. As citizens of SA we need to come together against crime in our country because government has lost its battle.
The #JusticeForSadiaCampaign was launched with the intention to ensure Parliament looks into Section 51 of South Africa’s Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1997 and provide reasons as to why South Africa should not reinstate Capital Punishment for convicted murderers. http://bit.ly/justiceforsadia #JusticeForSadia #Sign #Share #Viral.
There was a call for the community to remain calm and “not let emotions run too high.” However that was short-lived when a father of two, 39 year old, Mr Kelly Chetty was shot three days later in the presence of his little kids as hijackers wanted his VW Golf. Although the children were not physically hurt, they will be undoubtedly traumatised and the memory of their father’s passing will be haunting always.
On Friday morning, this first day of June, South Africa stood together, companies, staff, residents, housewives, school children, all the observed the “Wear Orange and #Standupforsadia campaign.” School children wore orange and school principals arranged for police officer to address students to be vigilant and safe.
On this day, when we all were praying for peace and non-violence, young Nathaniel Naidoo, en-route to work with four other people was shot in the head by unknown suspects. Nathaniel, an employee at the Oyster Box Hotel, was a respected young man known for his manners and voice.
The Oyster Box Facebook Page has this to say for 25 year old Nathaniel :
“Our staff all stand united today in the campaign against gun violence, however… our staff started the day out with the tragic news that one of our fellow staff, Nathaniel Naidoo, had been shot on his way to work. This senseless act has meant that a family has lost their son, brother and grandchild. We will always miss Nathaniel who was an amazing man, employee, colleague and friend – you made us proud! As The Oyster Box we hold dear our staff and their families and condemn this act in the strongest possible terms!” #standupagainstgunviolence #RIP #youwillbemissed
Having been a victim of robbery at gunpoint, I know full well the panic, upset and trauma that comes with quaking in front of a robber. Last Monday afternoon, the police officer working on my robbery case interviewed me again for a statement. Was I still keen to pursue my case? Did I still want them convicted? Yes, I said. They had been vegetating in the Westville Prison not far away from me, breathing in oxygen they did not deserve, eating up taxpayers money. Why? Simple. The law allows them to be set free on loopholes putting in vain all of the hard work put in by worthy law officers. Why? The death penalty is not being introduced. The laws are not strict nor harsh enough. These criminals know that theft and violence will bring in the monies they crave minus all the slogging and hard work that citizens like us do. If not on the roads, then they will be safe and secure in jail. Do I sound unjustifiably harsh? No.
Ask all of the people now in South Africa, the pervasive sense of doom that prevails, ask those wives, mothers and children who have lost fathers, mothers, sons, sisters, breadwinners if their aching gaps have been filled.
Yes, I love my beloved South Africa. Yes, I am proud of my rainbow nation.
Do I want to leave South Africa? No. Why should I? Why should our children have to flee that madness that is snaking fear into our hearts? We have a right to our historically rich country. We exercised our rights, our votes and placed our trust in the politicians and law enforcers of South Africa. THEY have let us down, they the fatted COWS that felt that they belonged on the throne, have raped and pillaged and thrown principles and righteous down the drain, they who have feathered their own nests and palatial houses who littered South Africa with empty promises, they who sleep at right whilst others beg for some warmth and decent living conditions.
We too, have rights…to enjoy all our hard earned money, our longevity, our peace of mind.
Shame on those and they know who they are. Shame on you.
“Bring back the death penalty!” #Stand up against violence!
Note : Images sourced from Facebook