Cape Town - A house allegedly belonging to the man accused of raping and killing 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana has been set alight by angry residents in Khayelitsha.
Video footage of a house on fire while community members dance and singing struggle songs has been widely shared on social media but it could not be confirmed that the dwelling belonged to the accused. It was also unclear whether there were any people inside the house at the time of the fire.
According to Jermaine Carelse of the City's Fire & Rescue Service, members of the unit responded to a dwelling alight in I Section, Khayelitsha.
"At 19:25 this evening the City's Fire & Rescue responded to a dwelling alight in Khayelitsha. Three firefighting appliances and a rescue vehicle with a total of 14 staff members were dispatched.
"Upon arrival of the first appliance from Khayelitsha Fire the crew was confronted by an extremely volatile crowd. They feared for their lives and withdrew whilst the crowd banged on the vehicle.
"As for who the owner of the dwelling is at this stage is unknown," Carelse said.
The City's Fire & Rescue Service responded to a dwelling alight in I Section, Khayelitsha. "Upon arrival at the incident a volatile crowd prevented the Service from performing their function". @IOL @TheCapeArgus pic.twitter.com/dzEuWcOzrj— Sisonke Mlamla (@SISONKE_MD) September 3, 2019
Police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed the fire. “We confirm that a house in I-Section Khayelitsha was set alight by community members this evening. The owner of the property cannot be identified. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under police investigation and the suspects are yet to be arrested. Our members are deployed in the area to maintain law and order and to quell any form of violence,” he said.
The incident comes just a day after the accused made his first appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court. The 42-year-old post office worker arrested on Friday faces charges of rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
On Monday the court heard that the accused confessed to the murder and led police to where her body was dumped.
Prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi told the court: "Your honour on the day of her disappearance she came to collect a parcel at Claremont Post Office. The lights were out and the accused asked her to return later.
"When she returned, he accosted her and allegedly raped her. She fought back and he hit her with a scale.
"The accused later dumped her body in Lingelethu West and took investigators to the scene."
The court ordered that the accused's name and photograph not be published.