The National Shelter Movement of South Africa (NSM) – a movement that was established in 2008 to serve as a united voice on the sheltering of women and children affected by gender-based violence – are deeply concerned about the whereabouts, wellbeing and safety of Nomawethu Kunene.
Noma, as she is fondly known, is a long-standing member of the NSM and former Gauteng provincial representative for the movement. She is also the Deputy Director of A re Ageng, a shelter for women who have, in some or other way been abused.
According to Zubeda Dangor, a member of the Executive at NSM, the shelter that Noma co-runs with Director Mpule Thejane Lenyehelo, A re Ageng has been embroiled in a long court battle with the Gauteng Department of Social Development, following the disappearance of R5 million from the shelter’s bank account towards the end of 2016. She adds that since then, two court judgments have ruled in favour of the shelter and the Court further dismissed the Gauteng DSD’s case that A re Ageng was responsible for the theft.
“This was not, however, the end of the ordeal”, says Dangor. In December last year, Noma was unlawfully arrested: not for the theft of R5 million – as initially alleged by the police in a media statement dated 9 December 2017 – but on an unrelated case which was unknown to her and which has a completely different case number. Noma was out on bail relating to this new case when she disappeared.”
Joy Lange and Fisani Mahlangu, both executive members of the NSM add: “It is the fact that she disappeared so suddenly, while in the pursuit for justice for her shelter and those they serve that makes us deeply concerned for her health and well-being. We pray that she is found unharmed and able to continue to fight the injustice that she, and the rest of the A re Ageng team have had to endure over the last year. She did all this, while still fighting for the injustices faced by so many abused women and children in our country. Our thoughts and prayers are also with her family, friends and co-workers.”
NSM humbly appeals to the South African public to come forward with any information they may have that will help find Noma. The relevant police department can be contacted on 011-767-2300. You can also contact the Crime Stop hotline on 0860-010-111 or sms crime line 32211.
To contact the A re Ageng shelter directly, please contact Mpule on 072-700-6988.