Ex husband held over woman’s murder

By Chevon Booysen, Odwa Mkentane, Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - On the eve of 16 Days of Activism for No violence against Women and Children, police have arrested a suspect over the murder of former police officer and Elim grandmother, Charlene October.

October, 49, was murdered in her home on July 12, a week after her birthday.

Before her move to Elim, she was a captain in the SAPS with 20 years’ service. At the time of her murder she was taking care of her only grandchild. The 1-month-old baby’s life had been spared during the attack.

According to information, the suspect is October’s ex-husband and had been managing the tuckshop, which had also been robbed the day of her murder.

Following months of intense investigations, police arrested the 38-year-old man on Wednesday.

He is expected to appear alongside his co-accused, Teswill van der Rheede in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court today on a murder charge, said police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi.

“The circumstances surrounding the murder of the mentioned person are under investigation. Once charged the suspect will make a court appearance in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder,” said Swartbooi.

Van der Rheede who faces charges of murder, housebreaking and theft was arrested two weeks after the incident.

He appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court last week and the matter was postponed to today, NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila had said.

Meanwhile, the police hailed the seven life sentences handed to serial rapist, Sinaye Siqhuma, in the Strand Regional Court this week.

“Siqhuma preyed on female hitch-hikers along the N2 near Grabouw. He won their trust by offering assistance as they hitch-hiked. He reportedly accompanied three victims aged between 20 and 30, one at a time during the period of November and December 2018 and after the victims were offered a lift to the Sir Lowry Pass area, he would lure them to a secluded area where he raped them,” said police spokesperson Andrè Traut said provincial SAPS welcomed the sentence.

“A thorough investigation by a SAPS detective led to the arrest of Siqhuma towards the end of December 2018. The well-prepared case dockets and DNA evidence were presented before court. He was convicted on seven charges of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment on all seven charges. The sentences will be served concurrently and Siqhuma will effectively be confined to a prison cell for life,” said Traut.

Western Cape police commissioner Tembinkosi Patekile led the launch of the police’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children at the Malibu Sports Field, Hindle Road, Blue Downs on Wednesday.

Addressing the gathering, he said they had created 120 Gender-Based Violence (GBV) desks in the whole of the province and were also looking at training 30 dedicated members at each shift that will be responsible for GBV cases.

“Most perpetrators of this violence are men and we have to take time to ensure that we as men take responsibility to protect the vulnerable ones. We need to take accountability and that is what the SAPS is doing starting from the front-line service because that is where the crimes are reported,” said Patekile.

“We tolerate no crime from the members of the SAPS who commit crime. If the member chooses to commit crime that member must get orange overalls and we have dismissed many police officers who are dishonest and have committed crime,” he said.

A Human Rights Watch report has found that the government did not provide adequate funding for shelters and other services for gender-based violence survivors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report “Sheltering Victims of Gender-Based Violence in a Pandemic”: Covid’s Crisis within a Crisis also found that while the government promoted a hotline for victims it had set up in 2014, civil society members said it sometimes provided confusing or out-of-date information.

LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch, Wendy Isaack said key services such as shelters have been under huge stress for months because of Covid-related problems, costs and long-standing difficulties like late payment of funds in some places and patchy government support.

“South Africa is facing a situation in which survivors have been locked down with abusers, and they need economic security to free themselves from their abusers.”

The Cape Times has partnered with the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Athlone to provide a platform for women to tell their stories of bravery, courage, and resilience. Be on the lookout for these stories every Friday, starting tomorrow.

Cape Times

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