Statement issued by Thandi Nontenja –  UDEMWO Secretary General

There seems to be a heart-wrenching answer to the question of the whereabouts of Yvonne Mbekwa. The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) is saddened to hear that a burnt body, with her documentation, was found fairly close to where she and her baby had disappeared. Reports do not indicate the fate of her child, but we have come to expect the worst.

“Yvonne Mbekwa” is yet another name to add to the growing list of victims of gender-based violence in South Africa. Government is simply not taking this matter seriously. The responsible ministers can’t get away with making a few pacifying noises in the media and leading us in celebrating Women’s Month in a few weeks’ time. 16 Days of Activism does not cut it anymore. What are you doing to drastically better the lives of women in this Country?

There is another dynamic to this tragic situation which adds extra discomfort. It has come to light that the main suspect, Yvonne’s boyfriend and father of her child, is a police officer in the Port St Johns area. If he is found to be her murderer; the irony would be too thick to swallow; because the very person who was supposed to give protection, instead took life.

We call on the South African Police Service to make a swift arrest, especially since there have been allegations that the suspect has issued threats to Yvonne’s family and community. We also call upon police to speedily investigate the whereabouts of the infant.

We keep her family and friends in our prayers. May her soul rest in peace.