Mother of alleged 'panga rapist' chased from village

N'wamitwa induna Simon Ngobeni said those responsible for evicting the woman did not consult with him as the community leader.
N'wamitwa induna Simon Ngobeni said those responsible for evicting the woman did not consult with him as the community leader.
Image: RUSA

A mother whose late son allegedly attacked a woman with a panga and raped another has been evicted from her home by angry community members.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the woman was taken to a place of safety after she was allegedly attacked and accused of being a witch by fellow villagers at Shongane in N'wamitwa, outside Tzaneen, on Saturday night.

The woman's 40-year-old son was killed, allegedly, by fellow inmates a day after his arrest at Letsitele police holding cells last month. There was no one home when Sowetan visited the family's house, and the gate was locked.

A neighbour who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sowetan the woman has not returned home since she was told to leave at the weekend.

"It was a group of people who accused the woman of being a witch and also that she protected her son by not telling the community and police where he was for three weeks before he was arrested [following the alleged rape incident]. She left with her grandchildren to an unknown place," the neighbour said.

Another resident said she doesn't support what happened to the woman and her family.

"I know that what happened to the two women who were attacked by [the man] while fetching firewood in the bush is very painful. However, the matter was settled when the accused was mysteriously killed, the woman can't pay for his sins," she said.

The man was on the run for three weeks after he allegedly raped a 39-year-old woman and cut off a finger of another woman who was with the rape victim with a panga.

Local induna Simon Ngobeni said those responsible for evicting the woman did not consult with him as the community leader.

"I just heard that there were police at the house because someone was being chased away. When the two women were attacked, I told the community to leave everything in the hands of the police because it's a criminal matter," he said.

Ngobeni said he condemned the eviction because no one should be forced to leave their home.

"If people have issues with one of the villagers, they know we are here as leaders to solve those problems and they should not attack the elderly. And a criminal matter should be reported to the police," said Ngobeni.

Mojapelo said the group removed furniture from the house, demanding that the family leave the area with immediate effect.

"The group accused the family of having hidden their son when he was sought for rape," Mojapelo said.

He added that one of the residents went to an extent of assaulting a police officer.

"Other members present at the scene managed to subdue and apprehend her. Another woman was also arrested at the scene," Mojapelo said.

The suspects, aged 22 and 45, are expected to appear in the Ritavi magistrate's court soon on a charge of assaulting a police officer.

Mojapelo said a case of murder is still being investigated to establish facts surrounding the man's death.

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