File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Accused ‘soldier’ assaulted over rape of Philippi woman, 70

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Cape Town – Angry residents of Siyahlala informal settlement in Philippi, where 17-year-old Amahle Quku’s naked body was found last week, have taken the law into their hands and assaulted a man accused of raping a 70-year-old woman.

The woman and her husband had been drinking with the suspect on Sunday, said community leader Sibusiso Qwabe.

“I was woken up by a call that an angry mob wanted to kill a resident who raped someone.

“The two elderly people were drinking with the suspect, whom they knew. He sent the husband to a local store to buy something.

“When he returned, residents who heard her crying for help during the incident had gathered outside, demanding that the suspect come out. The husband found the wife inside, traumatised, and told him what happened.

“The suspect was trapped inside and I tried to reason with the angry crowd, and gave up.

“The suspect is an SANDF (member) who lives in the area, someone who should protect people,” said Qwabe.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: “The suspect (in his fifties) who was allegedly beaten by the community members was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment. Once the suspect is charged, he will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.”

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said: “The matter has been brought to my attention and I have requested our people to follow up on it and confirm if indeed the incident involved any SANDF person.

“I can only comment further once all the information is at hand or the person appears before the court, as should be the case. A crime is a crime no matter who commits it and the law will apply.”

Philippi Community Policing Forum secretary Melikhaya Gadeni said they were disappointed that residents had yet again taken matters into their own hands.

This was after community leader Salathiso Sibali died in hospital after being shot. He was accused of protecting 25-year-old Leonard Mzingeli, who has been charged with Amahle’s murder. 

The teenager’s naked body was found on Albert Luthuli Street, about 800m from her home. Sibali had been sitting in a car with his brother when irate residents allegedly demanded to know why he turned over Mzingeli to the police and not to them. Sibali’s house was also demolished. 

Gadeni said: “We only support lawful actions that are taken to bring justice to victims and their families. We condemn it in the strongest way when people try to take action into their own hands. 

"We understand that people are angry and disgusted by what is happening in our communities, but we cannot condone this as it has cost the life of an innocent person. 

“Sibali was mercilessly killed with six bullets for doing what’s right, and his family is struggling to bury him now. He was a Sanco leader who worked with us in addressing crime in our area. We are really saddened that he didn’t live to say who his killers are.” 

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said initially a case of attempted murder was opened for investigation, but it had now changed to a murder case. 

“A case of malicious damage to property was also opened for investigation, with no arrests so far,” Van Wyk said. 

Anyone with information can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

Cape Times

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