A Bonteheuwel ward councillor has started a petition calling for bail to be denied for the 53-year-old man accused of raping a six-year-old girl and offering her R5.
Ward 50’s Angus McKenzie and Bonteheuwel residents were at the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court on Thursday April 3, when the accused made his second court appearance.
His bail application was postponed to Monday August 28.
Residents protested outside the court. One of the posters asked the court to grant the man bail so he could face the community’s wrath.
Mr McKenzie said the petition would go out to all in the community, including schools, churches and mosques. “I am encouraging everyone to sign this petition,” he said.
Shortly after the accused appeared in court, the protesters went to the holding cells and shouted insults at him from outside.
One woman, who did not want to be named, said: “They must hand him over to us.”
He could’ve paid a prostitute for sex – there are so many of them around. Why did he have to rape an innocent little girl? That is our child, and we share in her and her mother’s pain.”
Another Bonteheuwel resident, Sybil Bailey, said that all too often rape suspects were granted bail only to “come out and do it again”.
“Enough is enough. We want the death penalty. That child is our child. What happened to her could easily have happened to my child as well. I am a grandmother of three,” Ms Bailey said.
It’s alleged the accused raped the girl in his Bonteheuwel house, where the child and her mother live in a back-yard dwelling. He was arrested on Friday July 28 and appeared in court for the first time on Monday July 31.
The mother went to the police after she went looking for her daughter, who had not returned from an errand, and allegedly found the accused and her child in the bathroom in the main house and the accused had been hiding behind the bathroom door.
Social workers are providing counselling to the six-year-old and support to the family, according to the provincial Department of Social Development.
The department issued a statement, saying: “Allegations that the suspect tried to bribe the child with R5, to either be sexually assaulted or not disclose the incident, are particularly outrageous.”
It said the case demonstrated how suspects in child abuse and child murder cases were often people known and perhaps even trusted by the victim.
Social Development MEC Albert Fritz urged parents and communities to be extra vigilant.”No government can replace the role of a vigilant, responsible and engaged parent in the household. Parents are the first and most important line of defence against child abuse and murders.”