Durban — The 21-year-old woman now mothering a 3-year-old toddler alleged to be the result of rape with which her 41-year-old father is charged said she was relieved that he had finally been arrested.
The man has been on the run since May 6 after failing to appear before court following which a warrant of arrest was issued for him.
“The investigating officer phoned me yesterday (Saturday) telling me that they caught him on Sunday (last week) in him Bhamshela. I’m not sure if he has appeared in court or not but the investigating officer said he would update me. I think now that he has been arrested things will get better and the trial can finally start because I am tired now. I just want it to start and end,” said the victim on Sunday.
According to police, it was alleged that in 2018, a 17-year-old woman was raped and impregnated by a relative. The suspect was arrested and he failed to appear before the Camperdown Regional Court on Friday, May 6, 2022.
It was not until 2020 that the victim opened a case with the police and according to her, after opening the case there seemed to be little or no progress being made and she then took to social media pleading for help and sharing her story.
She said that an NGO answered her plea and it helped her have a DNA test done.
In September last year, the results came back following which police said the suspect would be sought.
Furthermore, in January this year, the victim and her mother found out that the father had appeared in court and in March the investigating officer gave the victims the accused’s court appearance dates with the first being on May 5.
It is alleged that the day before the court appearance he kidnapped the toddler and it was during a search by the community in Inanda that he was allegedly seen leaving the child at a tavern.
South African child rights activist Joan van Niekerk who had previously slammed the decision to grant bail to the man in the matter on Sunday welcomed the arrest of the accused by the police.
“I think it’s marvellous that police have followed up and made sure that he was arrested and will go to court. The difficult thing now begins for the victim because I do believe that for children to testify against a parent is quite a traumatic situation. So one hopes that the court will take note of the difficult position she is in and allow her to testify through the intermediary system which is very protective of victims.”
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development spokesperson Mhlaba Memela called on the magistrate’s court to ensure that such people did not get back to society.
“We welcome the arrest of the perpetrator. As we have said before, police have a role to track down such people and ensure they get arrested. It’s a disgrace and distasteful that a father can sleep with his child. We want to applaud the police for ensuring that they arrest the man regardless of his attempts to run away.”
Police on Sunday could not confirm the arrest saying they would only be able to assist with that on Monday.