Community grapples with rape

KAREN WATKINS

As the community continues to grapple with the rape and murder of teenager Franziska Blöchliger, accusations have been made that one of the four men, three in their 20s and one aged 32, arrested and charged with rape and murder with aggravated circumstances in the case is receiving preferential treatment.

Someone working at Pollsmoor Prison, whose identity is known to the Bulletin, says Jerome Moses, 24, is being held in Medium A which is where juveniles (under 18 years of age) are held. The prisoner’s father and brother are said to be working in the prison.

On Friday March 18 the case was heard before a packed courtroom in Wynberg (“Franziska’s murder accused denied bail”, Bulletin, March 24). Afterwards members of Women from Westlake (“Women ready to WOW their community”, Bulletin March 24) told the Bulletin they do not want them at Pollsmoor. “One of the boys’ father is a warden there and so it won’t be like prison for them,” said Alicia van Schalkwyk.

WOW were outside court again on Tuesday April 5 holding signs reading “No Franziska, no bail”.

Anthea Thebus said these men grew up in front of them and they saw them every day and they do not want them in the community. Another person who lives on the Pollsmoor estate has also ex-pressed concern that Mr Moses is receiving preferential treatment by staying in Medium A. This person also cannot be named.

Pollsmoor spokesperson Simphiwe Xako, however, said all four men are being held at the remand detention facility at Pollsmoor and not in the juvenile section. “They are, however, separated for security reason so that the investigators can complete their work in preparation for the court case,” said Mr Xako.

The source who is employed in the prison said prisoners are graded according to their crime profile and the charges against them and that Mr Moses has turned state witness.

Mr Xako said the Department of Correctional Services determines how they separate prisoners by gender, age, disability, gang affiliation, non-gang affiliation, awaiting trail and sentenced.

Asked if the brother and father of one of the accused works in Pollsmoor, Mr Xako confirmed this. “However the father of the accused is required to follow the same protocols pertaining visits to his son as any other person from the public.”

we respond has a ripple effect. Some of us shelter behind high walls and electric fences losing all sense of community, others become bitter and depressed, and the list goes on. We have lived in a violent society for so long that stress and fear have become second nature to us,” said Ms Depper.

She said most people probably suffer from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). But the silver lining is that evidence shows that in these tragic situations communities unite, as in the fires last year, and if this unity is maintained, it has the potential for healing and improved emotional wellness.

Ms Depper said LifeLine promotes emotional wellness and put people in touch with subconscious emotions that sometimes result in destructive behaviour.

“Our wounds, if processed constructively, have the potential of turning us into healers for the benefit of all,” she said.

LifeLine has been running in Cape Town for the past 47 years and their counsellors are highly trained. LifeLine used to provide a 24-hour crisis line but recently started to close at 10pm because volunteers do not feel safe going into and leaving the office, which is located in Cape Town.

The service is free of charge, except for the cost of the phone call, and is absolutely confidential and anonymous. LifeLine also offers face-to-face counselling, also free of charge, at their head office in the city. The organisation is always in need of counsellors who undergo 18 weeks of intensive training and a strict selection procedure.

Call LifeLine on 021 461 1111. For training or free face to face counselling call 021 461 1113 or visit www.lifelinewc.org

* WOW were outside court again on Tuesday April 5 holding signs reading “No Franziska, no bail”, calling for her alleged attackers to remain behind bars.

One of the men, the 21-year-old, has abandoned his bail application indicating he feared for his life and felt safer in jail. The legal representatives of the other three suspects asked for a postponement as DNA results were still outstanding.

Magistrate Hafiza Mohamed postponed the matter to Thursday April 28 for a bail application.