I MUST thank The Herald, news editor Angela Daniels and reporter Gareth Wilson for sticking with the Mpumelelo Apleni case from the very beginning of this tragedy.
The loss of Mpumelelo to the family and our branch has had a terrible effect on the community of our rural units, from the fear of school children using the Seaview road, to weekly reports from members and recreational cyclists of reckless and vindictive motorists on this road.
The fear of polarisation in our community with this tragedy was proven wrong when on the Thursday before the funeral of Mpumelelo we had not even a coffin, let alone all the other necessities that our culture dictates for a funeral. I put out a plea for assistance to our rural community for help (farm owners) and was totally surprised by the response as by the Friday this community had organised everything from a coffin and flowers to food, buses and cash for the family!
This was true ubuntu and for once we were able to put our political differences aside and unite as it was a loss to the entire community. We thank donors, and thank those residents of our rural area who give our children lifts to school in the mornings and especially the resident who used to give Mpumelelo a lift to high school in Walmer every morning.
The ANC branch collective did not want this tragedy politicised or racialised, which so often happens in tragedies like this. All the victims in this case were active members of the ANC branch, Rebecca Rodolo is a BEC member and Mpumelelo was a leader of the youth in the branch.
Before the police were called, the branch and regional leadership were called and responded to the scene, to support the family and victims. This was not done for political opportunism but because the true nature of an ANC branch is community service and activism, not cheap politicking.
The relief for the family and branch that Ruben Botha changed his not guilty plea to one of guilty is indescribable ("'Deeply sorry' Botha admits guilt", August 24). The raw emotions I witnessed in court shows that we all need to get together and start a process of reconciliation and forgiveness.
I saw tears and heard sobs from the family and branch members, but also from Botha and his defence lawyer as well as the prosecutor – this proves that we are all human and patriots to our young democracy.
Through this tragedy let our rural community and metro set an example of Madiba's vision for tapping our unlimited potential as a country. We have come a far way from the dark days of apartheid and let's move forward together, no matter our different points of view.
Kevin Foster, chairperson, Ward 1 ANC branch, Nelson Mandela region