A Khayelitsha mother cries for help as angry Kuyasa and Endlovini residents, who accused her son of raping a four-year-old girl, pull her from police yesterday. Her son was arrested and she was sent to a place of safety. Photo by Michael Walker

In one hand she clutched a plank. With the other, she hung on to the mother of the man suspected of raping her four-year-old daughter.

“He raped my child and now I want to cut off his genitals,” she shouted. “My child was raped and picked up in the bushes. I want to kill this (suspected rapist),” she said, wielding the plank.

Accompanied by about five policemen, she and a group of Khayelitsha residents went with the suspected rapist’s mother to her shack to find a photograph or ID of the suspect to give to other residents who did not know his identity.

Enraged by the rape, Kuyasa residents had met early last week and decided to burn down the house of the suspected rapist. They said they knew it was him because he had been forced out of neighbouring Endlovini after similar allegations earlier this year. His house there was set alight and his mother was told to leave the area. But an Enkanini resident had welcomed them.

Yesterday, Kuyasa and Endlovini residents marched to Enkanini to express their wrath. A crowd of about 300 stood outside the suspect’s mother’s shack, threatening to kill her son.

Among them was the distraught mother of the girl raped in neighbouring Kuyasa last Tuesday. They wanted the suspect’s mother to direct them to her son whom they accused of the rape. The girl, who was found in bushes raped and with her genitals slit, is in a coma at Red Cross Hospital.

She was apparently lured away from a house she was kept in after returning from a crèche and later found in nearby bushes.

Police confirmed yesterday a case of rape had been opened.

When the enraged residents got to the suspect’s mother’s shack they knocked down the door. But she told them she had no photographs of her son and he was at work in Mandalay.

Police had to keep constant guard of the suspect’s mother as residents’ anger intensified.

“His mother does not want to tell us where her son is. She is protecting him,” yelled a young woman.

Then, the residents tried to attack the suspect’s mother, but police intervened. The enraged residents then tore down the shack before setting it alight.

While the flames ruptured the corrugated iron shack, the residents chanted Silwela Amalungelo Ethu (We are fighting for our human rights).

Police fired stun grenadesinto the crowd to rescue the mother. As police tried to let the mother into their car in Enkanini informal settlement, a group of residents grabbed her and would not let go.

A struggle ensued as police tried to pull her into the car. The woman screamed while being dragged from side to side. Two loud bangs followed as police fired stun grenades, sending the crowd stampeding.

As the police car sped off, residents pelted it with stones and broke the rear windscreen.

Police spokeswoman Nosiphiwo Mtengwana said the suspect was taken into police custody. The mother was taken to a place of safety.

An Enkanini street committee chairman earlier calmed residents who tried to torch the house of a neighbour they claimed accommodated the suspect and his mother.

The neighbour’s sister stood terrified, crying in the yard as the residents threatened to demolish the house.

The leader, who refused to be named, but confirmed he was chairman, said they did not condone violence and said Enkanini residents did not take part in the mob justice.

He said child rape was rife in Enkanini, but they worked with police and the community policing forum to fight it. Residents from Endlovini and Kuyasa confirmed they were behind the mob justice.

They said the suspect was a serial child rapist and had been arrested a few times, but released for lack of evidence. This was because he wore gloves and a condom when he raped children, they said.

Yesterday they told the Cape Times they wanted to kill him.

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