An Eastern Cape man accused of abducting and raping a 20-year-old woman with Down Syndrome in Rhawutini informal settlement, Komani, was allegedly stripped naked and assaulted by residents before being escorted to the Mlungisi police station.
According to the victim’s sister, the alleged rape incident took place on Thursday last week when her sister was spending time with friends. “Her former boyfriend, who was also present, then asked if she could go to a nearby shack with him to fetch something. When they arrived, the ex-boyfriend’s friend was there. He then instructed his friend to rape my sister. They both threatened to kill and dispose of her body if she made any extraneous sounds or movements. My sister’s former boyfriend then left. She was locked inside the shack with the other man and was raped the whole night. Her friends thought she had gone home and only found out about this the following day.”
She said out of fear her sister did not mention the occurrence and the family only learned of the news on Saturday (October, 17) when information was leaked by a young relative. On Sunday morning she was told that the alleged perpetrator was drinking at a tavern not far from the victim’s house.
“I confronted him out of anger and he started to assault me. Community members then intervened and that is when he was beaten to a pulp.” She said her sister was currently in a horrific state and struggled to walk. “She cannot walk and is petrified. She is damaged, especially in her private parts. She did not deserve to experience what she did. They took advantage of the fact that she has Down Syndrome. Lawfully, something needs to be done,” she added.
The outraged community members, who also feared for their own safety, as well as that of the victim’s family, demanded justice.
“Friends of the accused have been making remarks and we do not know what they might do next. Police officers need to look into this matter because if anything happened to them we would know who was responsible,” said an angry resident who did not want to be named.
“We are tired of people who rape our children and yet walk free, only to rape again. I am a single parent who would not know where to go if something happened to my child. The magistrate needs to listen to the community outcry. We are tired of being victims of violence. It is high time perpetrators of such acts are brought to book,” said another.
Police spokesperson Capt Namhla Mdleleni said no arrests have been made yet.
However, she said police are investigating a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. “It is alleged that the victim was accused of raping a 20-year-old woman on Saturday. He was taken to hospital.” Mdleleni added that a case of rape was also opened.