A 19-year-old Mpumalanga man, who was arrested for the alleged rape of his eight-year-old niece, committed suicide in a police holding cell in Ermelo.
Joseph Dube, of Wesselton township, in Ermelo, was arrested on Tuesday for the alleged rape of his niece the previous day and on Wednesday he was found hanging from a security door of the holding cell. He was locked alone in the cell, according to police.
Superintendent Abby Khoabane of the eastern highveld area police said the alleged rape took place at the victim's home on Monday morning.
"The victim was with her six-year-old sister at home when someone knocked at the door. When they opened the door, the uncle came in and asked for matches to light his cigarette. In the process, he allegedly grabbed the eight-year-old and took her to a separate bedroom where he allegedly raped her. He then left the house," he said.
Khoabane said a case of rape was opened and police arrested the suspect the following day. On Wednesday morning, the victim's mother allegedly went to the police station and demanded that the charge against her brother be withdrawn but police explained the seriousness of the case to her.
Khoabane said the deceased, who was due to appear in court, was found hanging from the bars of the security door in the cell by officers during the 1pm routine check.
Khoabane said he committed suicide after receiving a report from his sister that police refused to withdraw the rape charge against him, adding that the deceased used a prison blanket to commit suicide.