Life of Zenizole Vena, 15, who died after escaping from alleged rapists, to be celebrated with parade
A parade and memorial will take place in Gqeberha on Thursday to celebrate the life of Zenizole Vena, who was allegedly held hostage, raped and managed to escape but later died.
Zenizole, 15, died in the arms of Sindiswa Ntantiso inside the Motherwell police station’s community service centre on September 21.
Ntantiso found her on the street and alleged they had first gone to the Motherwell clinic for help. But they were turned away and told to first go to a police station. The Eastern Cape health department has disputed this.
The parade has been arranged by MoJazz Kids Community Development. The organisation will also host her memorial service. The parade starts at 3pm in Ngwelwana Street and ends at the Emmanuel Church of Christ in NU11. The memorial service will be held at the church.
Zenizole left her home in Motherwell on September 17 and told her family she was going to attend a school event in Malabar.
She never returned home and was not reported missing.
Police spokesperson Col Priscilla Naidu said Ntantiso had found Zenizole on the street and the teenager appeared to be sick and was crying.
Naidu said it was alleged that she was raped by two men known to her.
At the police station, the teenager was crying and appeared to be having an epileptic seizure.
“An ambulance was immediately summoned to attend to her. While waiting for the ambulance, she suffered further alleged epileptic seizures,” Naidu said.
When the ambulance arrived, she had already died.
Police are investigating an inquest and a rape case.
“Toxicology specimens were taken and will be sent to the forensic laboratory for analysis.”
Health department spokesperson Yonela Dekeda said a preliminary report indicated the teenager was attended to at the clinic and found to be clinically stable. She said Zenizole was then referred to the police.
“We do agree that there is room for improvement in the way the patient was referred to the police. The department will deal with any shortcomings identified during our investigation and appropriate action will be taken,” she said.
There is no waiting period to report a person missing. Children are vulnerable and are easily influencedLt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene
“The postmortem into the cause of death has been undertaken and the findings at this stage explained to the family.”
Dekeda said the clinic had been closed due to community unrest. “The department has also been engaging the community representatives to find an amicable solution to the impasse.”
Provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene expressed concern surrounding the death of Zenizole. She said when anyone failed to return home as expected and might be deemed missing, this had to be reported immediately to the police.
“There is no waiting period to report a person missing,” Mene said. “Children are vulnerable and are easily influenced. Therefore, as responsible adults, everything must be done to protect them from becoming victims of a crime.”
DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga extended his condolences to Zenizole’s family. He said action was needed and a 72-hour activation plan implemented to bring her alleged abductors and rapists to justice.
“I will be writing to premier Oscar Mabuyane to immediately launch an investigation into this matter. The DA will also be submitting parliamentary questions to the respective MECs of health and community safety to get clarity on this matter,” Bhanga said.
Nelson Mandela Bay ANC Youth League regional chair Siviwe Ngaba condemned the alleged rape of Zenizole: “We call on law enforcement to act swiftly in arresting the perpetrators and everyone who was involved in this appalling act which led to her untimely death.”
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