The 94-year-old great-grandmother who was raped, allegedly by a released convict, has told of her ordeal and why she would never forgive the man who showed her no mercy.
“He had no compassion. I cried, begging him to stop, asking him why he was killing me, but he just put his hand over my mouth,” the New Hanover grandmother said on Thursday from a relative’s house, where she was recuperating from Monday’s attack that has sent shock waves across the country.
Nibbling on a packet of chips, the woman spoke of how she tried to fend off her attacker, who had broken into her mud-plastered home in KwaSwayimane on Monday night.
“I nearly died; I was short of breath and when he had finished what he had been doing I felt like I was drawing my last breath as he walked out,” she said, shaking her head.
The woman was raped in the presence of two of her more than 20 grandchildren.
The 28-year-old man was released from prison recently in terms of a special remission of sentence deal announced by President Zuma on Freedom Day.
Outraged relatives of the frail, partly deaf woman said on Thursday that the convict should never have been released.
“This man was not done with crime and he was let out; he had not fully learnt his lesson in prison,” said one relative.
“If he can rape an old woman, he can do any crime in his own home, even possibly rape his own mother.”
Another described the attack as “horrific”, saying the death sentence should be reinstated.
“What he has done is beyond any imaginable crime.”
However, the rape victim wants the law to take its course, although she wants her attacker to be severely punished.
She said she was leaving the man’s fate in the hands of the court. The grandmother said she hoped that the court’s decision and sentence would be harsh – just as her ordeal had been.
The woman’s relatives described her as “strong”, and as someone who enjoyed basking in the sun. But, since the attack, she preferred to be indoors, they said.
The mother of eight, who has outlived her seven younger siblings, loved spending time with her grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, they said.
The suspect arrested in connection with the rape appeared briefly in the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The prosecutor, Jabulani Maphumulo, said the State would be opposing bail at his next court appearance on August 3.
The DA’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, called on Zuma on Thursday to apologise personally to the victim.
Outside court, ANC Women’s League members staged a protest, holding placards calling for the accused to be denied bail.
Among them was Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, the league’s deputy provincial secretary.
She said people who committed crimes against the elderly did not deserve to be part of society.
“We will be here every time when he appears in court to support the victim’s family and to make sure he doesn’t get bail,” Thusi vowed.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor, Mary de Haas, said too many prisoners had been let out under Zuma’s remission programme.
“The prison system is not working and those let out should not even be in contact with any sort of crime,” she said.