Grannies unite in call for special rape sentence
Calls for castration and the death penalty
GRANNIES in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands have called on the government to impose a special sentence on any person who is found guilty of raping an elderly person.
"He must be castrated," they said.
The grannies from Swayimane were protesting at the court appearance of a man accused of raping a 94-year-old.
"If there is proof of physical brutality, that person must be killed. The death sentence must be revived, otherwise we will continue becoming victims," said 68-year-old Thokozile Gcumisa.
"It's becoming clear that our grandchildren and great-grandsons are targeting us and it is only stiff sentences like castration and death that will stop this from happening.
"We fear our own flesh and blood."
Another pensioner, Zoneni Gwala, 70, called for the justice department to prescribe a different sentence for sex offenders.
"For us grannies to feel safe, rapists must never be released. They must get life sentences and not be released on parole. If they get sick, they must die in prison and be buried there," Gwala said.
Ntuthuko Khulekani Ndlela, 28, appeared in the New Hanover Magistrate's Court, accused of brutally raping a 94-year-old granny from Swayimane . The woman was allegedly raped last month in her dilapidated rondavel by Ndlela, a habitual criminal .
A week later, an 84-year-old woman was attacked in the same area and required surgery after the horrific rape.
The small courtroom was so packed that some people had to sit on the floor and others stood outside, peeping through the windows.
As Ndlela entered the courtroom, residents hurled insults at him and court officials had to call them to order.
Prosecutor Jabulani Maphumulo told the court that the state had set aside September 15 to 19 as the dates for trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Ndlela said he would call eight witnesses and also asked to be transferred to a prison in Pietermaritzburg as "life is difficult at Camperdown police cells".
His request was granted.
Outside court, ANC Women's League member Gugu Chiliza thanked the grannies for their unwavering support of the victim.
"Gogo needs you more than you think. But I think she gains strength each day you come to court," Chiliza said.
Umshwati local municipality mayor Marshall Gwala said while he understood residents' anger, he urged them to remain resilient.
"It is unfortunate that the death sentence was abolished in our country. As painful as this might be, it is our law and we must respect it," he said.
"But it is worrying that one keeps receiving news of rapes in Swayimane. A few days ago, I received a call that a 14-year-old girl was raped in the area."
Police could not confirm the incident.