It’s only 09h10 and I haven’t even gone to rehearsals yet, but I am shaken and headachy. Big Friendly says it’s from the adrenalin. On the corner of our tiny road in Woodstock there is a block of crumbling, ancient flats that is getting a bit of a make-over. The work is haphazard and messy, with men and dust and banging. It’s the usual; a make-shift team of foreign illegal labour, doing their best to make a few Rand.
This morning the workers caught an itinerant somebody rifling through their clothes. Apparently, yesterday some workers’ clothes were stolen. When he tried to run away they caught him and started beating him. Big Friendly went to stop them from killing him while I called 10111. What a joke. As I put the phone down I realised it had been a total waste of time and I found the number for, and called the Woodstock police station, panicking the whole time for Big Friendly. The Woodstock police station is not even four blocks away from us. Still, it took four phone calls and over half an hour for a ‘lorrie’ to get here. Every couple of minutes the workers would get disgruntled and want to hit him again. Every few minutes I called and was either bitched at by the call answerer at the police station, or put on hold while he took another call. When the van finally got here they took him away. I’m convinced he wouldn’t have survived if they hadn’t.
It’s just so sad. The poorest of the poor are being robbed by the even poorer. There is no faith in the law, or justice or policing. When the police arrived all the workers scattered. They are also breaking the law by being illegal immigrants. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been for them that what they are suffering now is better.