A 23-year-old woman who is mentally challenged who was raped twice in Riebeek Kasteel. BRENDAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)
A 23-year-old woman who is mentally challenged who was raped twice in Riebeek Kasteel. BRENDAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)

Small form of justice for family after suspect is arrested for alleged rape of 23-year-old mentally challenged woman

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Dec 4, 2021

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Cape Town - The family of a 23-year-old mentally challenged woman can celebrate some form of justice after her apparent attacker who allegedly raped her was arrested.

Police have confirmed a 57-year-old man who is known to the victim as he is married to her aunt, made an appearance in the Riebeek-West Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 26.

Social workers have since been roped in from the West Coast to attend to the matter after being called upon by MEC of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

Last week, Weekend Argus reported on the story of the 23-year-old woman who became mentally challenged at the age of 5 after suffering from a bout of tuberculosis meningitis and that she had allegedly been raped by two men.

The latest incident happened in September after she was allegedly lured to a bush by the suspect under the pretence of collecting wood.

The woman’s mother detailed the horrific incident to Weekend Argus.

Police have now confirmed the suspect is behind bars.

Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said the man was still in detention following his first appearance.

The matter is now in the hands of the FCS unit, Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit.

“The complainant, a 23-year-old female reported the matter to the local police on Thursday, November 25. A 57-year-old man was arrested on Friday, November 26 and detained. The suspect made a court appearance in the Riebeek-West Magistrate’s court on Monday, November 29 on a charge of rape and was remanded until his next court appearance.”

DSD said the office sent a team to investigate the matter.

“The war that we continue to witness against our women and children is not one that the government can win alone,” said Fernandez.

“As a society, we have shown how successful we can be when called upon to do so. The resolve that we have demonstrated in efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 is just one of many examples.

“We need the support of our brothers, our sisters, community and business leaders, the police and civil society organisations. Together, we need to unite and act firmly to eliminate this shadow-pandemic,” Fernandez added.

Former Atlantis ward councillor, Barbara Rass and activist for women and children, said the media attention on the case had put pressure on authorities.

“I need to be honest, if it was not for the Weekend Argus, the alleged rapist would still have been around and that child would still have suffered in silence,” said Rass.

“I am very happy for the swift action that the police took in this matter and the help and care they have shown thus far. I saw the two police officers who were dealing with the case, how they had a caring nature toward the victim. We will be monitoring the case as it unfolds.”

Rass has also rallied for housing for the family and again called on the South African Human Rights Commission to intervene.

The woman lives with her parents and siblings in a RDP house which is being rented to them.

The South African Human Rights Commission has since confirmed they would investigate the matter.

Weekend Argus

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