Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelenzima Vavi wants to testify at the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry after one of his relatives was recently murdered in the areay.
He said on Monday he would try to get on the commission's list of witnesses. Vavi was speaking to reporters before attending the eighth day of oral hearings by the commission, which is mandated to investigate allegations of police inefficiency in the area.
He said he attended the funeral service of his sister's murdered granddaughter in Khayelitsha on Sunday. Busiswa Sizaba, believed to be about 25 years of age, was found dead on a street in Harare, Khayelitsha, about two weeks ago.
"Tuesday, the police arrive to say your granddaughter was found dead somewhere … in Khayelitsha on the Friday. When they arrive it's on the fifth day since she has died basically," Vavi said, describing how his sister was informed of her grandchild's death.
Family members then went to Busiswa's boyfriend's house in a bid to find out how she died. "They found this place, a backyard shack. They found a person – the person is known … he is known to be the king of the reign of terror basically in the community," Vavi said.
"When they arrive, there is blood all over in the shack and clearly the story now changes from somebody who was picked up in the street to somebody who was probably murdered in the shack and got thrown out in the streets …"
Questioned by Vavi's relatives, the boyfriend said he was traumatised by the death and had therefore not thought about informing the family or police. "The police have been investigating this guy [who is] clearly now a murder suspect. Nothing has happened [and] it's now the end of the second week since that murder has happened," Vavi said.
"The guy is still roaming the streets," he said.
'Residents fear the skollies'
This was but one example of why residents did not trust the police to enforce the law. "They [residents] fear the skollies. They have no confidence in the police.
"They love the taxi drivers because they mete out the street justice to these guys who impose this reign of terror."
Vavi's own family members were becoming impatient with police inaction and thought they had little alternative but to approach taxi drivers to help them. "[There is] no confidence, [a] breakdown of trust and helplessness and you have to resort to either join these taxi drivers and beat these guys up or you fear them [thugs], full stop. There is no other option," Vavi said.
The commission – headed by Judge Kate O'Regan – was established by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to probe accusations by civil society formations that police inaction was leading to an increase in mob justice killings.
The commission was delayed for some time when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa tried to have it scrapped.
Mthethwa lost his legal bid to stop the commission in the Constitutional Court in October last year. – Sapa