Ms Thandi Nontenja

The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) is deeply saddened by the brutal murder of 27-year-old Mahlako Malebo Rabalao, a loving mother and pillar of her community, whose life was tragically cut short, and her remains were found burning in her car on 16 March 2023. This shocking incident has left us outraged and determined to call for an end to the prevailing culture of violence against women in South Africa and reiterate our call for a death penalty.

Mahlako’s boyfriend, lawyer Thubelihle Sbonakaliso Mpisi, emerged as a prime suspect in this heinous crime. His upcoming bail hearing on Monday, August 7 presents a crucial opportunity for our justice system to stand firm against gender-based violence and femicide and ensure that perpetrators like Mr Mpisi do not go unpunished.

UDEMWO vehemently opposes granting bail to Mr Mpisi as it would endanger the safety of the community and send a disheartening message that crimes against women can go unanswered. Now is the time for the world to witness the strength and unity of our people, demanding that justice be served swiftly and without compromise. We implore the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities lead by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to take immediate and decisive action to ensure that women can no longer be seen as disposable victims.

Our hearts ache for the countless mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends who have tragically lost their lives to this kind of violence, this must not become the norm in South Africa. We will not rest until justice prevails, and we send a resounding message that perpetrators cannot roam our streets freely.

The UDEMWO stands firmly against any form of gender-based violence and discrimination. We believe that the time for change is now. Our organisation has tirelessly advocated for the rights and safety of women across the nation, and we refuse to accept another heart-breaking loss. The bloodshed must stop, and it is incumbent upon all men to take an active stance against violence and stand up as responsible citizens.

UDEMWO calls on all South Africans to unite during this devastating time and join forces in demanding justice for Mahlako Rabalao and an end to the senseless violence that plagues our society. We invite individuals, civil society organisations, and government bodies to collaborate in finding sustainable solutions to eradicate gender-based violence once and for all.

Issued by:
Ms Thandi Nontenja
UDEMWO Secretary General