Any parent worries about their child. But the circumstances of Mtuseni’s life in a South African settlement present added dimensions of concern relative to bringing up children in America. I worry about health issues for him and the family, such as his mom’s “mystery” stroke in July. Money issues for a family of four living on less than $250 a month. Safety issues with illegal water hookups and house fires and rusty nails and crowded jitney taxis on dangerous roads.
But Mtuseni’s recent blog post about a “rogue” police unit has raised my concern to a new level. Known by locals as the amaBerete, the group seems to be waging its own brand of violent justice. The South African TV news magazine 3rd Degree recently aired a piece on the group, which can be seen on YouTube.
I’ve provided a portion of Mtuseni’s blog post on the amaBerete below. It offers a chilling perspective from someone living with this new threat. Please click through to his full post and show him your support.
Mtuseni and I haven’t discussed the post or amaBerete yet, but I’m sure he knows to watch his back. He doesn’t drink or cause trouble, but vigilantes operate under their own twisted rules. It’s yet another worry for me — and one more challenge for poor South Africans trying to live under dire circumstances.
They were only introduced in 2009, yet they have made headlines over every single township in South Africa. At first we thought they were here to protect us, but now we fear them more than robbers or criminals.
They call themselves T.R.T. (Technical Response Team), but in our communities they are called amaberet because of their headgear. People thought that they were police officers that enforce the law, but today they are seen as vicious military people trained to abuse everyone they come across.
Amaberet only made their appearance in Diepsloot late in 2011 , but every single night since then they have stopped movement in the streets of the township. They also have limited residents from going to parties at night or to taverns. No people except the brave ones walk freely during the night because they know that the amaberet will stop you and either beat you up or emotionally abuse you.
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