The specter of death haunts him

The specter of death haunts him

In many societies, it is rare to find church and crime talked about in the same sentence. Not in White City, Soweto, the scene of the brutal murder and mutilation of two boys in April, where borders are so blurred that worshipers pray with one eye open.

“No one feels safe at the moment,” said the parish priest of Regina Mundi Church, Father Nkobel Mzulu.

Regina Mundi Catholic Church in White City, Soweto. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

This famous church is the gateway to the White City, but those credentials haven’t spared the historic place of worship and other offenders.

According to Father Mzulo, the last breach in the Regina Mundi church was about a month ago, when they “stolen copper pipes and mirrors”.

Evangelical Church of Lesotho, South Africa. (Photo: Cabello Moquina)

Evangelical Church of Lesotho, South Africa. (Photo: Cabello Moquina)

Lesotho Evangelical Church in South Africa located less than 5 kilometers from Regina Mundi Church is one of the most popular churches in the White City. Two church leaders said that while the church was not keen to go into details of the attacks Daily Maverick that when the criminals broke in and found nothing, they demolished the building.

The mere mention of the killings reveals the scars they left in the hearts of the local population.

About 15 kilometers from the evangelical church, five people were killed in an attack on the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in Zurbekum on July 11, 2020.

The Committee for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities found that offensive It arose from the succession battle In the Church.

The infiltration of criminal elements into religious congregations in and around the White City is a new and growing phenomenon that shows that crime knows no bounds.

Walking around the White City, it feels like any other area of ​​Soweto, except for the specter of death that lingers over a month after the boys were murdered.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: Soweto was outraged as a female relative was arrested for the murder and mutilation of two young boys

The mere mention of the killings reveals the scars they left in the hearts of the local population.

White City’s proximity to Regina Mundi Church and historic sites like the 16 June Memorial Acre gives White City bragging rights.

Worshipers at Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto perform Sunday prayers in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 16, 2013 (Photo: EPA/Kim Lodbroek)

Welcoming visitors to the White City, Thokuza Wetland Park gives the area a natural feel, but that fades quickly as you walk further and reality sinks in.

Ngobezitha Zulu and Chiamo Rabani were killed in May

Read more at The Daily Maverick: Outrage over Soweto child murders – ‘feed the killers to the sharks’

Pupils from Ezeskilu Elementary School were killed and dismembered by patrol guards and residents at separate locations in Rockville and White City on April 20 after going missing on April 19.

Nkobele Ndlovu, 50, and her partner Mthunzi Zulu, 39, are charged with the murders. They have already appeared at least twice in the Breutea Magistrates’ Court.

The scene in the White City where one of the two boys’ mutilated bodies is found on April 20, 2023 in Soweto. The other body was discovered by community members in a different location. (Photo: Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi)

Those appearances were not easy for the boys’ families, especially Ngobezitha’s mother, Nohlanhla Zulu. During the accused’s final court appearance, Zulu threw a white object at the accused just as the judge adjourned the case.

The appearance of the first accused was not easy in court either. Officials had to implement strict safety measures as all the angry residents wanted to be inside the courtroom.

Pain history

The white city Came when it was black He was forcibly removed from Sophiatown decades ago.

“Before that, the Boers lived here. Boer soldiers lived here. “They were often bussed to work from here,” said White City resident Moses Hlatshwayo.

Its name derives from the dome-shaped concrete houses, many of which were white. “Another distinguishing feature of these houses is their red roofs,” Hlatshwayo said.

“If you look around Mzimlov today, those houses are still there,” said White City Ward 37 councilor Babi Chitsanga.

White City is one of the oldest townships in Soweto, with its own customs, practices and orientation.

But despite its glittering credentials, White City appears at the top of the crime list. Moroka Police Station, which serves the White City, ranks in the top 30 of the 144 police stations in Gauteng where the most crimes are reported, according to First Quarter 2022/23 SAPS Crime Statistics. The report covered seven categories of crimes.

We are imprisoned by criminals in our own homes. When it goes the other way, it’s de-burdening, unemployment.

The station ranked in the top 20 in kidnappings and recorded an increase in this category, also in the top 25 in the list of sexual assault crimes, in the top 30 in theft with aggravating circumstances, and in the top 20 in “triple” crimes (car theft, home and business theft). commercial thefts).

The station ranked fifth in auto theft, recording a 79.5% increase in this category between June 2021 and June 2022. It also ranked 30th in malicious property damage and the top 10 in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Although the statistics released by Moroka reflect this Escalation of crime across the countrywith the release of quarterly statistics revealing that 6,285 people were killed between January and March 2023. 10,512 people were raped in the same period.

Churches, families, and businesses have created innovative ways to secure their buildings and properties, such as leaving clean sneakers and shoes to dry on roofs.

On the other hand, churches no longer hold anything of value inside, with worshipers constantly living in fear.

Most foreign and domestic shops do not allow people to walk after sunset. Customers are served through a small hole in the door.

“We are imprisoned by criminals in our own homes. When you flip the opposite direction,” said Hlatshwayo, 50, who was born in White City and has lived here his whole life.

Young and desperate

Grim conditions in the region have killed many young people from any hope of finding work. When asked what they do for a living, the common response is “siyaphanda” “we wrestle”), which has a broader meaning in the townships’ terms.

It’s a term steeped in both honest and not-so-honest hustle and has become part of practices and trends in the region and around Soweto.

“It can be dice-playing, but there’s nothing innocent about hustling,” said a White City youth known as “Sash” Mokone. Daily Maverick.


Residents said they did not feel safe because of the high level of despair among drug addicts.

“Drug dens have become a huge problem because this is where complex crimes involving shootings are organized,” said Chitsanga, a member of Ward 37 Council.

Sometimes junkies chased homeowners during burglaries and used homes as drug dens.

“We may very quickly have to go back to a time when we used to protect ourselves. We have community structures and we are working with the police on a structure to protect ourselves.”

Aerial view of the white city of Soweto. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The positive side

Despite the alarming crime figures, Moroka Police Station Commander Brigadier Shibori said most crime has settled thanks to sound cooperation between police, residents, patrol guards and central security forces, as well as crime offenses involving members of the Ward Council.

“The two murdered boys would not have been found without proper cooperation,” he said.

“We have a very good working relationship,” Shibori added.

However, he told one of the White City guards who attended the memorial service for the murdered boys Daily Maverick They frequently receive reports of deaths and that crime is on the rise.

Despite the successes, Shibori also expressed concern about new and evolving trends, particularly in auto theft. But patrol cycles have intensified and criminals have sought new hunting grounds in nearby Chiawelo. DM


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