Wide reaction to rape case

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Foreigner accused of raping disabled woman

IN CUSTODY: The alleged rape accused is escorted from court by police officials Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

 

THE rape case against a Malawian national has attracted the interest of various groups and individuals, as was evident during the second appearance of the accused at the King William’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

It is alleged that a mentally disabled woman was raped by the foreign national in Schornville on New Year’s Day.

Among the interest groups at court was a delegation from the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), officials of Empilisweni Aids Council, a Buffalo City Metro (BCM) councillor, Breidbach and Schornville Sanco leaders and the media.

The accused made his first appearance in court on January 4 this year, when the case was postponed to last Friday and he was remanded in custody. It was again further postponed to next Tuesday.

The woman’s distraught family and Schornville community, with the support of neighbouring community members and the various groups, staged a peaceful protest in front of the court on Friday, calling for the accused to be denied bail.

Vocal CGE national commissioner Lindelwa Bata said the organisation condemned the rape.

“I firstly have to thank the family for informing me about the matter as I would not have known due to the fact that I’m always travelling in the line of my duty,” Bata said.

SHOWING SOLIDARITY: Breidbach Sanco member Desmond Coetzee, left, with national commissioner of the Commission for Gender Equality, Lindelwa Bata, at the King William’s Town Magistrate’s Court last week Picture: STACEY GOSLING

“As the Commission for Gender Equality, gender-based violence is our core business as we are a Chapter Nine institution mandated by section 187 of the Constitution to oversee, monitor, evaluate, educate and do research on all matters on gender equality.

“We work together as Chapter Nine institutions supporting constitutional democracy in South Africa with partners such as the Human Rights Commission, Public Protector, the Auditor-General Commission and other institutions,” she said.

She emphasised that one of their legal functions was to do court monitoring to check whether justice was served for women.

“As for this particular matter, it touched me personally as it reflects exploitation, gender- based violence, patriarchy, rape, sexual violence and most of all it depicts how sex pests would exploit vulnerability of our women and girls,” she stressed.

“… the sad part for me is that women with disabilities are at times [more] exploited, as if they have no rights, yet Section Nine of the Bill of Rights specifically protects them.”

BCM Ward councillor Bongani Dyonase said because the crime was committed in his ward, he had attended the court case to show his solidarity and support for the victim, her family and the community.

Lerato Nocanda, a public educator and lay counsellor at the King-based Empilisweni Masimanyane Aids Centre, shared Dyonase’s sentiments.

 

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