A man who had allegedly skipped his rape trial and went on the run for 11 years was arrested at a petrol station in Verulam on Thursday. Picture: RUSA

Johannesburg - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has welcomed the arrest of an alleged rapist apprehended by a security firm in Verulam, Durban, but expressed concern that the suspect, who was granted bail in 2007, could evade the law for 11 years.

"Victims of sexual offences and other violent crimes should not wait this long for justice, as the possibility of disappearance of critical evidence and witnesses compromises their cases," Sanco acting spokeswoman Motlalepula Rosho said on Saturday.

Rosho expressed hope that as a flight risk, the suspect would be denied bail when he finally made it to court to answer for the "despicable and horrendous" acts he was alleged to have committed.

She said that though the arrest of the alleged rapist on Thursday sent a strong message that the long arm of the law would catch up with those who committed crime, Sanco was concerned about the role reportedly played by private security officers in the arrest

"In our knowledge, private security firms do not have investigative and arresting powers to have pursued the suspect,” she said.

Rosho called on the Independent Police investigative Directorate (Ipid) to probe whether any police officers were "moonlighting" with security company Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa), as well as the firm's involvement in the arrest.

According to Rusa spokesman Prem Balram, reaction officers had been searching for the 41-year-old man for several months and eventually received information that he had fled to Johannesburg.

"The suspect was spotted this morning [Thursday] by a reaction officer after the information was circulated to Rusa members by a police detective six months ago‚” Balram said.

He said that the man was nabbed at a garage on Todd Street while waiting for transport to his work place in Mount Edgecombe. “It was his first day at his job at a call centre.”

Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the the man would appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court soon.

African News Agency/ANA