Police minister Bheki Cele arrived at a cold reception in Eastridge on Monday, with a large crowd of Eastridge residents complaining of police incompetence and baying for the blood of the suspected murderer. Little Stacey Adams’ body was found in a shallow grave on Sunday.
The six-year-old had been missing since Saturday, after her grandmother sent her mother’s house in De La Rey street, Eastridge. A search party alerted police to the shallow grave, and the tiny body was exhumed.
Violence erupted in the community; locals frustrated with perceived police ineffectiveness, and others emotionally broken following a tide of violence, particularly victimising children, lashed out at police. The large crowd voiced their concerns regarding the police investigating, criticizing their failure to secure the crime scene, and allowing people to walk under the crime scene tape to get a closer look.
The suspect’s hideout had already been gutted by fire, caused by a petrol bomb thrown by vigilantes, by the time Cele’s motorcade arrived in the area. Cele’s attempt to address the crowd, to allay fear and calm the situation was futile, instead, he was met by a barrage of boo’s and profanities.
Naeemah Londt‚ Stacey’s great aunt‚ although grateful for Cele’s visit, told Times LIVE:
“What would be better is if we as the community could take the law into our own hands. That’s all. The police should have just left us so we could do our thing‚ hurt him. He has to feel how that girl felt. I have four daughters.”
Gatvol Capetonian leader Fadil Adam explained that societal problems, compounded by governments alleged discrimination against coloured people were to blame for the murder, saying:
“This is what we say to government: You put two Wendy huts in a backyard of a house‚ you put the unemployment there‚ you put the overcrowding there‚ you throw in drugs. That was a time bomb. Someone was going to get killed‚, unfortunately, she was six years old.”
Cele responded to the community, conveying his sincere condolences, admitting the crime was particularly heartbreaking:
“The community is very angry, and justifiably so, and the family is in pain, and justifiably so.”
Cele also added that although he would find and punish police officers responsible for their dereliction of duty, he noted that the area was too volatile for proper police presence after his officers came under attack from the community.
After his short visit in Eastridge, Cele’s motorcade left the area, while some residents were overheard discussing how they would bail the suspect out themselves, in order to exact vengeance.