Cops warn women not to go out alone

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Police in Newcastle, northern KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday issued a warning to local women not to wander around on their own after dark, even in areas frequented by other people.

The warning came after the rape of a 42-year-old crafter while she was gathering reeds for making baskets and brooms on Friday night.

The woman was attacked and raped close to one of the town's best schools.

It is the same spot where the body of a teenager was found in 2000. She had also been raped before she was killed.

"In this latest incident the victim was alone when she was attacked," said police spokesman Shoes Magududela.

"Women must avoid walking alone or working by themselves," he said.

"We have not made any arrests but are looking for the suspect."

Magududela said rapes are uncommon close to the town but that women should still take care and not wander about on their own, especially after dark.

Local people are puzzled by the brazen attack close to a path used by so many people.

"We are aware that crime happens everywhere, but we never thought that a woman would be raped in such a public area," said another crafter.

"The suspect must have been following the woman. We hope police will find him soon.

"Many of the women who sell brooms get their reeds and grass from the same area," she said.