Lerato Park - A 20-year-old man was allegedly gang-raped and left in a burning room in a vacant house in the new Lerato Park housing development at the weekend.
Residents are fuming after the incident, which they believe to be a homophobic attack.
The victim was apparently visiting from Schmidtsdrift for the weekend, when the incident took place.
A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous fearing intimidation from the five men who allegedly committed the crime, said she woke up at about 5am on Sunday morning, only to see flames coming from the house that is attached to hers.
“Members of the community came with buckets of water and as we approached the second floor of the house, where the flames were coming from, a young man came running down the stairs. He wanted to run away but we calmed him.
“He said that five men had raped him because he was a homosexual. They then tried to kill him by setting fire to a mattress, apparently on which they raped him. He managed to escape. Fortunately only his shoes got burned,” the woman said.
She added that the police arrived on the scene late in the morning and took the alleged victim to the police station to complete a statement and then to the hospital for medical attention.
The woman also alleged that vacant houses at the Lerato Park housing development were becoming hot spots for prostitution, gangsterism and drug use.
“We call on the Sol Plaatje Municipality to allocate these houses to deserving residents. These vacant houses are being damaged and are used as places to commit crime and use drugs. That is something we don’t want in Lerato Park. My two young children – one three years old and the other only three months old – had to be left in the cold in the middle of the night because I feared that the fire might reach my home. They are being brought up in dangerous circumstances because these houses are used for criminal activities,” she said.
Another neighbour reacted to the alleged homophobic attack, saying that no-one had the right to rape another despite their sexual orientation.
“While I might not agree with homosexuality, we cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation. Everybody has the same rights and we must respect that. Homosexuals have feelings just like straight people,” the man said.
Police spokesman, Lieutenant Sergio Kock, confirmed on Sunday that members of the Galeshewe Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit were investigating a case of rape and the police in Roodepan were investigating arson pertaining to the incident.
“No arrests have been made at this stage.”
He urged anyone who had information to contact the investigating officers, Detective Sergeant Olifant on 082 495 4725 or Lieutenant Fredericks at 084 338 3239.
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