Cape Town - A 52-year-old man was expected to appear in court on Monday after he allegedly raped a seven-year-old child in a bush near her home.
Police had to rescue the alleged child rapist after the girl’s community bayed for his blood in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, on Friday.
Angry residents burnt tyres and threw stones, forcing police to use rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd in Dassenberg Street.
The suspect then sought refuge at the Mustadafin Foundation office in the same street, where about 500 people followed him and threatened to kill him.
People shouted: “Laat hy uit kom!” ("Let him come out!)
Police arrived at the scene a short while later, leading the man out of the building and loading him into a police van.
It is believed the man had been sent to buy beers for the child’s mother and that he took the girl with him.
He allegedly led her to a bush where he allegedly pulled down her pants and raped her.
But the little girl put up a fight and screamed for help, causing the suspect to stop his attack and run away.
The man was then hunted by the community.
A staff member at the Mustadafin Foundation, who asked not to be named, called the Daily Voice.
They say the man confessed to raping the child and both were brought to the building for their safety.
“The man is here now and we are not safe also,” said the frightened staff member.
“This man says he was asked to buy beers for the mother and that he took the child to the bush and pulled down her pants.
“The child was screaming and managed to get away. She was brought here. The man is also here now in the office.
“Now the community wants to storm the place to get to him. We can’t let the man go or they will harm him and we can also be harmed.”
The child has since been sent to social workers for assistance.
Police spokesperson, Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirms: “A 52-year-old man was arrested and will appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrates' Court on 4 December, facing a charge of rape.”
Joanie Fredericks, the chairperson of the Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum who was on the scene, criticised adults for using children in the protest.
“The problem is there are those adults putting children in front to fight the battle. It is clear that the children do not understand anything else than we must kill the rapist. Community action and participation are needed and desirable but not like this,” she said.