Residents and members of the Lentegeur Community Policing Forum handed over a petition with more than 1000 signatures calling for bail to be denied. Picture: Jack Lestrade

Cape Town - The 57-year-old man accused of raping the one-year-old daughter of his neighbour is a convicted rapist who spent time behind bars more than 20 years ago.

This was revealed at the Mitchells Plain Magistrates’ Court on Monday, where residents and members of the Lentegeur Community Policing Forum handed over a petition with more than 1000 signatures calling for bail to be denied.

As the suspect made his way to the dock, the baby’s mother burst into tears and fled outside.

She was assisted by family and neighbours, who carried teddy bears to symbolise the young victim.

The accused wore spectacles and spoke in English when the magistrate asked whether he would be seeking private counsel or Legal Aid.

He said: “I do have a lawyer, but I don’t have a way to communicate with him.”

But then he opted for Legal Aid.

The State indicated they would be opposing bail and were awaiting bail information.

The matter was postponed to September 9.

The man was arrested on Thursday after angry community members bayed for his blood outside his home, where the alleged incident took place.

The child was in the care of her nanny when she was raped. It is understood that the accused is related to the nanny.

The abuse was discovered when the baby’s mother found blood on her nappy and immediately called the police.

Outside court, angry community members said they wanted the nanny to also face charges.

Pastor Denwor Olhson, the Public Relations Officer of the Lentegeur Community Policing Forum, said the accused had a criminal record for rape.

“The family of the baby is opposing bail, they do not want him to come out. The accused is known to the family,” said Pastor Olhson.

“He is a convicted rapist and we are trying to establish as the CPF whether he was out on parole.

“I am standing here today on behalf of the community of Mitchells Plain, we cannot allow this type of stuff to happen.

“To the men out there, we plead with you do not do this, this is a 14-month-old baby, you make us men look bad in the eyes of women. We have had enough.”

Another resident, Ingrid Spannenberg, says the nanny should also be arrested.

“The nanny needs to take responsibility. Surely if a child is in an educare, we would want to keep that teacher responsible.

“The child was in the nanny’s care, why should she come free?”

Daily Voice