Solidarity Chairperson Flip Buys, together with institutions that form part of the Solidarity Movement, such as trade union Solidarity, AfriForum and Helping Hand, yesterday, 3 May paid an emergency visit to Coligny. They visited the town to gather facts about the situation, to support the town’s neighbourhood watch organisations, and to provide social assistance to the community where necessary.
The visit revealed that a tense political atmosphere has prevailed in Coligny for some time already between ANC members and mayor-elect Daniel Buthelezi. According to Buys, the death of 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu, who died when he had allegedly jumped from a farmer’s moving bakkie, is a tragic accident. Buys is of the opinion that the accident has since been exploited for political agendas by people who do not live in the town and have been bussed in, leaving in its wake crime and looting. A heavy police presence has been deployed in town and it was clear yesterday that the SAPS had the situation under control.
“A contingency plan is in place should further violence continue following the court ruling,” Buys said. At this stage, the police and the community are preventing access to external troublemakers who want to instigate matters in undesirable ways.
According to Coligny’s businesspeople healthy race relations have prevailed over the years in the community and the current situation is being blown out of proportion through social media abuse and false rumours that have been spread about events. Buys says it is remarkable to see how the Coligny community still stands together, helping one another. This comes after serious damage had been done to private homes, businesses in the informal settlement that belong mainly to foreigners and to shops in town.
The predominant feeling that emerges from the many interviews held with members of the community is that the two men are innocent and what had happened was an accident. “The law must take its course and members of the public should refrain from passing judgment and finding the men guilty in the media,” Buys said.
“Whoever commits murder, be it white on black or black on white, deserves a life sentence. We are, however, of the opinion that this incident is an example of the double standards that apply in South Africa at the moment given that the two persons involved happen to be Afrikaans males.”
Solidarity Helping Hands’ volunteer branch in Coligny is currently supporting several Afrikaans families who have been plunged into a crisis as a result of the recent violence. Residents who are in need of food, clothing and other help are being assisted and supported. Solidarity’s Coligny branch is still receiving and coordinating aid in the form of food and furniture that is being donated for the two families who have lost their homes. Solidarity Helping Hand today also donated R20 000 for emergency relief and undertook to lend further support where it might be needed. (Please refer to Solidarity Helping Hand’s press statement attached)
Civil rights organisation, AfriForum, lends support to neighbourhood watch organisations and undertook to assist them by providing security training and equipment. AfriForum also intends to use the Coligny incident as a blueprint for its national safety strategy. This strategy will be launched at AfriForum and the Solidarity Movement’s safety summit to be held on Saturday 6 May. For more information, visit www.veiligheidsberaad.co.za .
“Any town that is plunged into such an undesirable situation can sleep safely and emerge from it unharmed if the community is well organised, properly trained, has sufficient systems in place and members can communicate effectively with one another,” Buys concluded.
South Africa Today – South Africa News