KwaZulu-Natal - A man who benefited from President Zuma’s special remissions programme allegedly raped a 94-year-old grandmother days after he committed an armed robbery.

The 30-year-old, described by police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge as “a habitual criminal”, was arrested on Monday and was expected to appear in New Hanover Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

The woman was raped in her KwaSwayimane home, in Emabheleni Ward, at 1am on Saturday, said provincial police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane.

“Police had been looking for him for another case,” he said.

The woman was allegedly raped in the presence of two grandchildren, aged seven and 12. She has since been put in the care of her son and the children have been moved to a place of safety.

Mdunge confirmed that the man had been one of the 3 150 presidential parolees, and that police had been searching for him for his part in an armed robbery, perpetrated before the rape.

He said the man’s actions, and his family’s disowning of him, had led to him committing the crime to get back into prison.

“He has nowhere else to go. Prison is his only home.”

KwaZulu-Natal correctional services commissioner, Mnikelwa Nxele, confirmed that the suspect had been released at the start of the presidential remission last month.

He said the suspect had been convicted of theft and sentenced to six months in prison.

“Consideration was given to release him on parole when he had served half his sentence. But, when we consulted with his mother, she said she did not want him back. She rejected him.

“He remained in prison and served his full six months. By this time the presidential amnesty was announced. We could not hold him back. He had to be released into society.”

Nxele said the alleged rape was regrettable and sad.

“I am at a loss for words. But this tells us that there is a huge problem in society. When offenders are released they need to be reintegrated into society.

“There are issues of poverty and unemployment which often drive many to commit crimes again so they can go back to prison. Communities need to ensure this does not happen. Offenders must be counselled. Sport and religion must be introduced to them to help them fit back into society. This could be a deterrent.”

He said business also needed to assist prisoners by offering skills courses and workshops at prisons.

“When they get out, they will have some sort of skill. This will help them to secure jobs. Clamping down on crime must be the responsibility of everyone. It cannot just be the responsibility of the government. Society has a huge role to play.”

On Wednesday, MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi led a delegation of officials from the health and agriculture departments, the office of the premier, and the police on a visit to the family.

Thusi said she was satisfied with the efforts of a social worker who had been helping the family since the rape was reported.

She said she was confident the family would get through the ordeal.

“I am, however, saddened that we have to deal with the rape of such an old woman at a time when she should be cared for and nurtured,” she said.

Thusi condemned the incident, which she described as evil.

“It is shameful that we even have to speak of the rape of a 94-year-old woman.

“In a normal society such an evil act would not occur. This rape is a serious indictment of us as a nation and how we raise our children, especially since the alleged rapist is young enough to be the woman’s grandson.”

Thusi commended the police for the arrest. - Daily News