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An air of determination prevailed this morning, 28 September 2020, as a group of Newcastillians gathered outside Newcastle Magistrate’s Court. Placards in hand, the purpose of the gathering is clear. No longer shall people remain silent about violent crime.
This morning, the suspect accused of being involved in the double murder of Glen and Vida Rafferty appeared in court.
As the trial officially prepares to begin, residents united under the banner of #MoveOneMillion, demanding justice prevails. Speaking at the gathering, Karen Brown explains, “This is a stand against murder, rape and corruption in the judicial system. We are focusing especially on the point that no bail should be granted to murderers or rapists.”
The people gathered in the parking area across the road from the Newcastle Municipality and court, before peacefully marching to the court.
Dudu Zwane, a member of the march, explains why the event was so important for her, stating, “It has been an emotional few weeks. This whole incident is causing a lot of problems within the community.”
She continues by adding, the murder has broken the trust between farmers and the farmworkers, which she believes needs to be addressed, as both parties play an important role in the community.
With the community focusing on justice, the family of Sipho Mbatha is also waiting for the legal system to run its course. Mbatha was shot and killed during 2011, while he was hunting illegally on a private farm in Normandien.
As a source of tension in the farming community, the farmer’s son has claimed he intended to shoot a dog and not Mbataha. A further eleven dogs were also shot dead in the incident, and the farmer’s son, James Geldenhuis, handed himself over to the police a week after the incident.
Geldenhuis is currently out on bail, and the trial will continue at the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court in November.
With tensions currently running high, the time has come for the people of Northern KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa at large to unite together, ensuring people involved in violent crime face the full extent of the law.