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Komatipoort - A man accused of raping his girlfriend's five-year-old granddaughter was denied bail by the Tonga Regional Court on Monday.

The man is believed to be a Mozambican living illegally in Mpumalanga, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Prosecutor Cuthbert Ngomane argued that the man should be denied bail because he was living with the girl and her grandmother in Sibhejane village, formerly Block B, outside Malalane.

“The accused tried to run away from police when they wanted to arrest him and he is in the country illegally. He was arrested 24

days after committing the crime and it's possible that if he gets bail he'd go back to his country of origin in Mozambique.”

The 28-year-old man, who cannot be named until he has pleaded to the rape charge, was arrested in January after evading police since December 27.

Ngomane said there was a risk that if the man were released on bail, he could influence his girlfriend to drop the charges or disturb the investigation.

“I am opposing this bail application. You must stay in jail for the rest of your life because you don't deserve to live amongst people.”

Investigating officer Detective Constable Thembinkosi Ndlala testified that on December 27 last year the child's mother discovered that her daughter was not in their room around 11.15pm.

“The mother woke up to search for her daughter and she could not find her. She went outside to alert others in their rooms,” he said.

Ndlala told the court that the girl was heard crying at the gate.

The girl told the household that the man, whom she referred to as “grandfather”, had undressed and raped her. Police were called.

“A search began and he was not found until he was arrested on January 20 this year by the Komatipoort police,” Ndlala said.

“I don't think giving him bail would be justice to the victim because the accused would cross the border to Mozambique as he is not from South Africa.

“The accused doesn't have stable residence, no passport or ID book, no permanent job and he might escape to the country because he knows about the seriousness of his case.”

Magistrate Sam Nkuna denied bail and postponed the case to April 25.