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crime protest (4)
Community leader Nomonde Calata, widow of struggle hero Fort Calata, among other woman of all Cradock’s communities. They were there to show their anger as the four men accused of Hettie Philp’s murder appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on 22 February. Picture Chris Marais.
crime protest (3) (2)
When the accused arrived in police vans for their appearance in court on 22 February, the crowed surged forward, drumming angrily on the vans and trying to get at the men accused of murder. Picture Chris Marais.

By Julienne du Toit
By any measure, Friday 22 February was a remarkable day in South Africa. Oscar Pistorius’s bail hearing was finalised. Julius Malema’s furniture was auctioned.
And in Cradock, tension and anger in the community over crime was reaching a boiling point. A crowd of more than 250 people began gathering at 8.30 in the morning at the old Metro movie house building, opposite the Magistrate’s Court.
They were here to vent their feelings about the criminals that had terrorised all communities of the town. Their anger was focused on the four men who were about to appear in Court for the gruesome murder of Hettie Philps (51), a well-loved local caregiver who lived in Aalwyn Street.
Their placards read “Enough is Enough”, “Stop the Carnage”, Government has Failed the Innocent”, “Crime is Killing South Africa”, “Hang Them”, “Real Men don’t Rape”, “Respect Everyone’s Right to Life” and “Bring Back the Death Penalty”.
Cradock is no stranger to unrest. The uprising at the funeral of Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli – murdered by Apartheid police – triggered the President PW Botha’s declaration of a State of Emergency in 1985.
But now, 28 years later, the protesting men and women were from all races. Nomonde Calata, community leader and widow of struggle hero Fort Calata, said later that day: “This terrible thing has had one good outcome and that is that white, brown and black are united together against this crime. For the first time in Cradock’s history!”
When Regina Bhuqa of the ANC Women’s League blew her whistle and began to toyi toyi in front of the crowd, the whites surged forward and joined an impromptu placard-wielding conga line, dancing to the singing of struggle songs.
One of them was later heard to say: “Well, this is very satisfying. I can see why people protest like this.”
When the two police vans arrived with the accused, the crowd, which was swelling by the minute, surged forward and beat on the vehicles. Police were forced to stand shoulder to shoulder, creating a human shield so that the men in the van could emerge and run through the gauntlet of angry people.
There were cries of “moer hulle, donner hulle!” Members of the crowd reached through the police’s arms and whacked at the men. One woman tore a strip of clothing off one of them and held it high like a victory flag.
When the men emerged from court again, a hardcore group of women were waiting for them. They grabbed their clothes off their bodies and as the police drove away, triumphantly set fire to them.
The four men’s next appearance will be on 1 March.
“We will be waiting for them here,” said one of the women with grim satisfaction. “They will see us.”
Hettie Philp’s rape and murder follows on those of Sophie Abrams, Ntomboxolo Lamadi, Noyo Mpayipeli, who were also raped and murdered in the last few months.
crime protest (7)
ANC Women’s League stalwart Regina Bhuqa, better known by her nickname of MaNtombi, lead the crowd in protest on 22 February. Photo Chris Marais.



By Julienne du Toit
Cradock owes a great debt of gratitude to Regina Bhuqa, better known as MaNtombi in Lingelihle township.
This is her story: “On the Tuesday after we heard of the death of Hettie Philps, I said to my friends ‘Let us pray so that God can help the police to find the people who did this.’ Little did I know, as we prayed, that it was my own brother’s son who was one of those criminals. “I’d heard my brother say that his son brought back some things from a job he’d done and was storing them at my mother’s house. I said to my brother, you must check what is there. But he never had the time. “On the Thursday after the murder, I went to look for myself. I found bloodstained clothing in a bag, weapons with other items that must have been stolen. I thought Jy! Now I am calling the police.
“When the police came, they told me they appreciated this so much, because now they can catch these people and build a concrete case.”
It was MaNtombi that went from door to door in the township, saying people must come to demonstrate at the Magistrate’s Court on Friday. “Oh, I am very glad, very happy at how all the communities in Cradock are standing together against these criminals. We are one big bundle of people uniting and fighting to get rid of this damn thing.”
Asked if she was scared to give up her own relative to the police, MaNtombi was adamant.
“No I wasn’t scared. I am a Women’s League member. We are working hand in hand with the police. Yes, I am a woman, and I must face the fact that I might be killed some day. But if these people are not put away, who will be killed next?”
MaNtombi was a pharmacy assistant, now retired from Lingelihle Clinic because of a bad knee.
She, together with Cradock’s Chief Magistrate Cordelia Sondiyazi, has been trying to get whistles to as many vulnerable women and children as possible. These whistles can summon help from neighbours.
“I am so grateful. Just today, we got another 30 whistles, donated by Lou Jewellers. And a farmer, Jannie Moolman, donated 196 whistles last week.”
MaNtombi, along with other prominent women in the community like Funeka Mtshungwana, Nomzi Mfabana, Vuyiswa Mtsewu Nomakula, Makonxwa Jenifer, Nomonde Calata and many others, are urging all residents to stop sheltering relatives suspected of being criminals.

Renewable Energy Systems Southern Africa (‘RES Southern Africa’) is proposing the establishment of the Spitskop Wind Energy Facility and associated infrastructure within a site of 264 km2, located approximately 6km north-west of Riebeek East and ~15km north-west of Alicedale in the Eastern Cape Province. The proposed facility would have a generating capacity of approximately 420 MW (depending on the final number and type of turbine) and is proposed to comprise the following infrastructure:
• Wind turbines and relevant foundations.
• Cabling between the turbines, to be laid under ground where practical.
• Internal access roads to each turbine and other relevant infrastructure.
• Buildings and areas for security, control, maintenance and storage.
• On-site substations to facilitate the connection between the wind energy facility and the electricity grid.
• New overhead power line/s to be connected to Eskom’s electricity grid
(We will follow this project on our doorstep with great interest – Editor)

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