Healer accused of raping niece

Traditional health practitioners in the Eastern Cape expressed shock and dismay at the arrest of a man accused of raping his niece over a period of three years.

The news of the 56-year-old herbalist's arrest has irked traditional health practitioners.

They have called for bail to be denied for the man who allegedly raped his 28-year-old niece at Bholotwa village near Dutywa.

They have also called for verification that he is indeed a qualified traditional healer.

After his arrest on Monday, the suspect appeared in the Dutywa Magistrate's Court yesterday on a charge of rape.

The case was postponed to November 9 for bail application.

Mbhashe Traditional Healers Association coordinator Wongi Mnto said they would conduct their own investigation into the credentials of the accused as a traditional healer.

"If indeed he is genuine and a member of organised traditional healers, actions will be taken and he will be struck from the roll," said Mnto.

Traditional Health Practitioners' OR Tambo regional chairwoman Nongenile Nyoka said sexual intercourse or rape could not cure anyone or any ailments.

Nyoka urged women to report such matters to the police.

She said people claiming to use sex to cure ailments "were just satisfying their lustful needs and taking advantage of women".

Butterworth police spokesman Captain Jackson Manatha said: "The allegation is that the suspect started to rape the victim from June 2013 until October 2016.

"The suspect used some tricks by informing the victim that he was going to re-unite the victim with her husband as they were in separation.

"He called the unsuspecting victim to his house where he told her that he had prepared some traditional herbs," said Manatha.

Manatha said despite continuous promises that the woman would be reunited with her husband, it never happened.

"It is not clear why the victim never reported the crime since 2013 and only reported it in October 2016," said Manatha.

Mnto said that if the allegations were proven true it was "a disgrace to the practice".

In a separate matter, on Wednesday a man was  sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the Ngqamakhwe Regional Court for raping his 15-year-old niece.

Manatha said the 36-year-old rapist accosted his victim on June 3 2008 at Ndakana village in Ncora near Ngqamakhwe while she was on her way home after school.

"He threatened the victim with a knife and instructed his victim not to tell her aunt - the accused's wife.

"But, the victim finally broke her silence and told some of her relatives," said Manatha.

Butterworth cluster commander Brigadier Stanley Sibidla welcomed the sentence and praised the Butterworth family violence, child protection and sexual offences investigations unit for their work in investigating rape cases.

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