Johannesburg - A 27-year-old man accused of raping a nine-year-old girl and then setting her alight will appear in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

He was arrested on Sunday by members of the Delft Neighbourhood Watch who had to protect him from angry residents demanding mob justice.

The girl, who was set alight in the bush along the R300 highway, was found alive by relatives on Sunday.

Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said members of the Delft community should be applauded for assisting police with the arrest.

“I am deeply saddened and at the same time furious that another one of our young girls has been brutally raped. However, it is welcoming news to hear that our SA Police Service has already made an arrest,” Plato said.

“This situation could easily have turned into one of vigilante violence and I applaud those members of the community who kept calm in a volatile situation and ensured that justice can take its course.” - Sapa