Family sad to see alleged rapist free

A 19-year-old girl who suffers from mental illness was allegedly raped by her neighbour over a week ago.
A 19-year-old girl who suffers from mental illness was allegedly raped by her neighbour over a week ago.
Image: Kabelo Mokoena

A Mpumalanga man accused of raping a mentally impaired 19-year-old girl has been released from custody allegedly without a bail hearing taking place in court.

The man, who cannot be named, is accused of raping the girl in an open veld near a school in Vlaklaagte, in KwaMhlanga, over a week ago.

The girl, who attends a local school for children with special needs, had disappeared from home for hours on November 11 before returning around 8pm with parts of her cream-white dress blood- stained and unbuttoned, according to her family.

The girl's aunt, who cannot be named to protect her identity, questioned her about her whereabouts and what had happened. She said the girl explained that their neighbour had taken her to an open veld near a local school and made her take off her clothes.

"I went to call his [alleged rapist's] grandmother so that she could also hear what she was telling me," the aunt said.

The distraught family told Sowetan yesterday that the neighbour, when brought to their house later that evening, admitted to "only kissing" her and denied raping her.

Kwaggafontein police were then called. The family said police arrived an hour later and arrested the man.

This was after some members of the community had held the suspect hostage waiting for police.

However, after the child and her aunt's statement were taken at the Kwaggafontein
police station, they were driven back home and were told that the alleged rape victim shouldn't take a bath as examination could only be done the next day.

After the suspect appeared in the Mkobola magistrate's court in Kwaggafontein for the first time and the matter was postponed for two days, what was supposed to be his second appearance never took place.

The girl's family, which was in court, was surprised to later see the alleged rapist outside. "I'm losing hope in the justice system, my heart bleeds and we're scared to send her to school because we don't
believe she's now safe," the aunt said.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the prosecutor referred the matter back to the police to find an expert to adequately interpret the alleged victim's statement.

"We're looking for a person who can interpret the evidence from alleged victim because the court can't rely on the interpretation from a family member."

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