Angry Khayelitsha residents march on police station after woman’s murder

Family say they know the killer

By Sandiso Phaliso

22 January 2024

Hundreds of Khayelitsha residents marched on the police station on Monday demanding action from SAPS after the murder of a mother from PP informal settlement. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

About 500 people marched to the Khayelitsha police station on Monday demanding action after a mother from PP informal settlement was murdered.

The family of murdered Felicia Mlanjeni have called for justice for her, claiming she was killed by a man living a few houses away.

Mlanjeni, 32, the mother of a 14-year-old boy, went home after drinks at a neighbour’s house on Thursday night. A neighbour went to check on her on Friday morning, 19 January, and discovered her dead naked body and police were called.

Western Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, said upon arrival in Jimba Street police discovered Mlanjeni’s body in a dwelling at about 8am. “The victim was declared dead on the scene by the medical personnel,” said Swartbooi, and Khayelitsha police opened a murder docket for further investigation.

But residents say they know the murderer. On Monday 22 January about 500 people marched from near Mlanjeni’s home to the Khayelitsha police station to demand he be arrested as he had been seen in the streets and at his home. They said bail must be denied and a thorough investigation done.

When SAPS did not respond to their satisfaction, residents stormed the home of the suspect but police managed to take him away.

Vuyolwethu Ntlanti, Mlanjeni’s cousin, said the community wanted answers. “Community members marched to the police station and when they were told that he had not been arrested they went to his home but police were tipped off and the police were there first and took him away.

“For him to go with the police it had to take the whole community, shame on the police,” said Ntlanti.

Ntlanti said the case should be transferred to another police station because of a possible conflict of interest involving the suspect’s mother.

Mabhuti Mlanjeni, another of Felicia Mlanjeni’s cousins, said when he arrived at her house on 19 January he had not seen signs of forced entry.

“Who will now take care of her child? We are worried because he has not talked since the incident, and he knows who is alleged to have committed this crime,” he said.

SA National Civics Organisation secretary in the area, Ludwe Vara, said the crime had rocked the community. Residents were afraid, angry and desperate for change, he said. Vara said police had assured him and other community leaders in a meeting on Monday morning that DNA test samples had been taken from the victim.

Swartbooi did not respond to questions on whether the case would be transferred to another district. He asked anyone with information to call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.