Namhla Mtwa’s family criticises police for no arrests as Bheki Cele visits Mthatha

Namhla Mtwa’s family says an arrest should have been made by now for her murder and criticised the police (Saps) for the delays.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, alongside National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola, on Thursday visited the family of the 35-year-old who was shot outside her home in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, on 21 April in a suspected gender-based violence (GBV) attack.

‘Failed by many’

Speaking to the media in Mthatha, Cele said Mtwa was failed because no case was opened with the provincial Saps by the victim or on her behalf.

“We do find that Namhla was failed by many of us. She was failed by friends, maybe by some members of the family colleagues and by the community.

“We have checked that there is no record of her being reported or her reporting [this matter]. She might not have been in a space of reporting, but somebody somewhere [knew] what was happening.

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“When [one] looks at those pictures on social media, some of them were terrible,” he said.

“Everybody must just go somewhere and shout to say something is going wrong, including government and the structures that are suppose to respond.

“If we find any information that indeed somebody did report on this and many of us could have done better,” Cele added.

[WATCH] Police Minister Cele & @SAPoliceService National Commissioner Gen. Masemola are at this hour paying a comfort visit to the family of #NamhlaMtwa & giving the family an update on the murder case handled by a a team of investigators from the EC province. pic.twitter.com/feKRWsKe3f

— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) May 26, 2022

The minister said the police are confident they will make an arrest soon.

“Unfortunately, I cannot give an exact date, but we are definitely on solid ground. It should not take too long for the police to act on the solidity of the ground I have given,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mtwa’s brother, Siyabonga, criticised the police for not making any arrests and called for justice to be served.

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“Of course the family is not okay about these delays because it’s been long. At least by now we were expecting that the perpetrator would be brought to book [but] unfortunately for the family it’s not yet done.

“All they do is to come and promise this and that… [saying] ‘we’re going to make an arrest, we are on solid ground and what not’. That’s all they’re doing, so we can’t say a minister being here will make a difference, but we’re happy that he came and promised us that they are taking the matter seriously,” he said.

[HOPEFUL] Siyabonga Mtwa, brother to #NamhlaMtwa says following the home visit by Police Minister and @SAPoliceService top brass and update on the murder case, they remain hopeful that police will make an arrest soon. pic.twitter.com/qeH17gd25b

— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) May 26, 2022

The news of Mtwa’s murder made headlines this week after the victim’s sister, Sanga, took to social media in a plea for justice, resulting in the #JusticeforNamhla trending on Twitter.

Sanga alleged that her sister was in an abusive relationship with her long term partner of 17 years, and shared photos on social media of Mtwa covered in bruises.

Budget vote

Cele briefed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police on Tuesday on issues GBV-related matters such as the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and crime statistics focused on violence against women and children.

The minister said during the virtual meeting that communities and families need to work with the police to protect and support women.

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“If families are not helping us to play the role they’re supposed to [then] we have a long walk to walk in trying to deal with these maters,” he said.

He also delivered his budget speech vote this week with R1.3 billion being allocated to baseline activities related to GBV and resourcing of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units. 

Cele indicated that R1.263 billion of the total amount will go towards the units’ operational expenses, including human and other resources.

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