The family of Hangberg resident Junaid Phillips, who was murdered in January, have taken to South African online crowd-funding platform backabuddy to appeal for funding to pay for a lawyer.
The Justice for Junaid campaign was launched as a response to a “failing” justice system, according to a family spokesperson, who did not want to be named because the family has been receiving threats.
Mr Phillips was stabbed in the chest outside a convenience store in Salamander Road, on Saturday January 7. The family claim he was targeted as retaliation for an incident on New Year’s Day, when the popular 24-year-old came to the aid of his sister’s boyfriend, Jeno Lakay ,who was ambushed by a group of 10 people.
Mr Phillips’ intervention managed to drive the assailants away, but not before they allegedly told him they would be coming for him later.
The family say the group had harboured ill-feeling towards Mr Phillips since then, which ultimately led to the fatal stabbing. A 17-year-old boy was later arrested, but was released on bail in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.
The spokesperson said the family were struggling to get answers from the police, which was why they were seeking the services of a lawyer.
“We are very angry. The first detective who was put on the case was actually seen driving around with the accused’s friends. We complained about this, and this detective was pulled off the case,” she said.
“A new guy was put on the case, and we were informed that he was awaiting the results of an autopsy. We were happy with that, but then last Friday (March 17) Junaid’s father, Wayne, got a call to say that we needed a statement from him. The case seems to be held up all the time.”
She said the family felt that if they hired a lawyer they would have a better chance of staying up to date with the latest events.
“A family friend who is a lawyer has agreed to waive a portion of his fees in order to take our case, but not everyone in our family is employed, so we will still need additional money to pay for his services.
“Our family is still hurting deeply. On the one-month anniversary of his death, Junaid’s friends posted on his Facebook page. It is just so emotional. One of my young relatives, who loved Junaid, keeps saying that it feels like he is on holiday and he will be coming back soon. Junaid’s mother won’t even leave the house. It is horrible.”
She believed that if the Hangberg community wanted peace, it needed to stand together to ensure justice was done. The crowd-funding campaign was one way of doing that.
“The accused’s next court appearance is on Thursday April 6. We are going to be organising a march in Hangberg to raise awareness for Junaid’s case as well as the need for peace. There are so many stabbings and shootings in Hangberg, and we need to put a stop to it.”
Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch was not available for comment at the time of going to press.
The crowd-funding campaign can be found at www.backabuddy.co.za/justice-for-junaid