By BO Staff Writer
Imagine sitting in an open field with friends in a local township, enjoying a drink, good music and waiting on your meat in a braai stand to get done. Around you there are cars with open boots playing the latest house music.
In almost all black townships around the country, similar places where people gather to relax, socialise, dance and have a braai, exist. They are colourful, with all kinds of characters and full of young people who want to have fun but also the freedom to move around as they please.
Imagine that as you wait for your meat, the police arrive and tell the gathered people to leave. Disperse! “They do that almost every weekend,” one community member who frequents the spot tells us.
A policewoman asks you to leave. You say you are waiting for your meat, then you will leave.
She kicks the braai-stand down.
Hot ash scatters everywhere, including on your feet, and the meat gets acquainted with the sand. You protest and ask, “why did you do that?” Then, from nowhere, a male police officer comes over and slaps you right across the face! The people around you protest, “hey! what are you doing?” You also chip in, “you have no right to hit me like that.”
The police officer laughs, takes out his gun, points it to your face, and shoots!
This, unfortunately, is not a work of fiction, but what happened to Phumza Pita last Saturday in New Cross Roads, Cape Town. After the policeman shot her, he fired five more shots – some say the shots were fired in the air, while other eye witnesses say they were fired at her.
The police men took off in their vans and left, leaving Pita on the ground fighting for her life. A battle she lost.
“We went to the local police station, in Gugulethu, and we tried to open a case,” Luxolo Ndlovu, who resides in the New Cross Road community and is a Western Cape Black First Land First (BLF) Coordinator, told Black Opinion.
Ndlovu is among a group of people who were tasked by the community to follow up on the case.
“The police then told us we should report the case to the [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] IPID. The man who shot Phumza is still free, walking around like nothing happened.”
Ndlovu said there is a road camera near the spot where Pita was killed, but they are still trying to figure out how to get the footage. “We think our case will be stronger if we get hold of the footage,” he said.
Some community members protested the police brutality on Monday by blocking roads with burning tyres, rubble and large rocks. They say they want justice for Phumza.
The police were not immediately available for comment.
Steve Biko once said, it is a miracle for a black person in the township to survive to adulthood. In that space, black-on-black violence is the norm. Now it has taken the life of a mother of a 3 year old child.