DNA tests rule out suspect charged with rape of granny
THE family of a 94-year-old woman who was raped in front of her two great grandchildren fear for her wellbeing following the withdrawal of a rape charge against the 28-year-old suspect.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday withdrew a rape charge against Ntuthuko Ndlela after DNA tests ruled him out as the rapist in Swayimane in the Midlands.
"We are now scared because the [real] rapist is on the loose and we don't know what he is planning as this incident received a country-wide condemnation," a relative said yesterday.
"When the investigating officer informed us last week that there was nothing linking the suspect to the rape, gogo has not been well. She took it very bad and it affects her life. She now feels like people will turn against her and think that she was lying and this is not good for her fragile health."
The relative said they would keep the elderly woman under a watchful eye until the police arrest the real criminal.
The great grandmother was raped in the village in August. Ndlela who had been released during a presidential pardon, was arrested for the crime.
A week later, an 84-year-old grandmother was raped in the same village.
NPA provincial spokesman Natasha Ramkisson confirmed that the charges were withdrawn because Ndlela's DNA did not match the DNA found on the crime scene.
"I can confirm that the charges were withdrawn. The result of the DNA test excludes him as the assailant.
"Ndlela, however, is still in custody for an unrelated robbery charge against him," Ramkisson said.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the police's task team was now searching for the rapist.
"Obviously, the investigations will continue. We do have a task team in place that is working around the clock searching for the suspect. We will not stop until he has been found," Jeevan said.