File photo: INLSA
Mfuleni community leaders have called for an increased deployment of neighbourhood watch members following a plea by police for the public to come forward with information that may lead to the arrest of a suspect who raped a 7-year-old girl.

The girl was approached by the suspect at about 7.30am on Friday while on her way to school in Nqilo Street, near Corner House Chilas in Extension 3, said police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana.

“He dragged her into the opposite field, where he raped her. The suspect later returned with the child, who was crying.

"When the community asked him why the child was crying, the suspect allegedly told them that she did not want to go to school. 

"One of the community members flagged a van down as she noted that the child’s appearance was not good. The suspect fled and the victim was taken to the police station,” said Rwexana.

Mfuleni community policing forum chairperson Bongani Tyembile said crime could be avoided with the deployment of more neighbourhood watch members.

“At first there were many volunteers in our communities, but when they heard other members in other areas receive a stipend, they were discouraged and the numbers dropped.

"This initiative and the members have been doing a great job in our communities; they just need to be motivated again. 

"All these men who target our children and women belong in jail, and I am calling on the community not to take the law into their own hands.

"If they see the suspect, they must immediately alert the police,” said Tyembile.

Police have urged anyone with information about the whereabouts of the suspect to contact the investigating officer, Tino Plaatjies, on 082 234 1725 or 082 522 1047.