ANC councillor held after mentally-disabled teen’s rape

Kimberley – An ANC ward councillor was arrested on Tuesday on charges of abduction, rape of a minor and attempted rape and is expected to appear in court later this week.

This follows allegations that he took two young girls, locked them up in a house, and only released them after a few days.

Police spokesperson, Captain Bashoabile Kale, said the suspect was currently in the holding cells.

He said police were investigating the rape of a 14-year-old mentally-disabled girl as well as the attempted rape of another young woman.

“The girls were taken to the veterans’ houses in Lerato Park on February 8 and were only released on February 10 at 5pm.”

The ward councillor, on social media, denied the allegations, saying that it was nothing more than a smear campaign.

“These are malicious allegations to blackmail me and to dent my name and my reputation.”

Community members indicated that they would picket outside court when he is expected to appear on Thursday.

“A community leader should not be involved in offences of this sort. The court must not grant him bail.”

Family members said that the 14-year-old girl went missing from her home in Lerato Park on February 8.

“She is still extremely traumatised and will only return to school when she feels ready. We are very angry over what happened because she is innocent and vulnerable.

“She attends a special school and came home on Friday, changed out of her school uniform and walked down the street. She met up with a friend, who is about 19 or 20 years old, near the tuck shop. They walked together to her friend’s aunt’s house to collect R300.”

They added that eyewitnesses saw them being forced into a vehicle, which was travelling in the direction of the veterans’ houses.

“They told us that there were three men in the car. The girls were locked inside the house and were unable to escape as the doors were locked while the windows were bolted with burglar bars,” the young girl’s sister told the DFA.

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A family member holds a clothing item which was worn by the 14-year-old mentally-disabled girl who was abducted and raped while being kept in a house in Lerato Park for several days. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

“My sister screamed for help, but no one heard them or came to their assistance. It was just the suspect, my sister and her friend who were inside the house, as the owner was not there. The identity of the suspect is known to my sister.”

Neighbours added that community crime fighters, Wanya Tsotsi, assisted in searching for the girls.

“One of the members was on his way to work when he saw them on Monday. We called the Thuthuzela Care Centre to assist, took her for medical treatment and notified the police.”

The ANC’s regional secretary, Webster Dichaba, said the ward councillor would remain in his position, pending an internal investigation into the allegations.

“We will verify the information and also listen to our member’s side of the story. We have a constitution that guides how members, office bearers and public representatives are expected to conduct themselves. The ANC will not condone any form of abuse against women and children. We will watch the matter with keen interest and are confident that justice will prevail,” said Dichaba.

He indicated that they would not be supporting the ward councillor when he appeared in court.

“We have a policy regarding members who are facing criminal charges. Anyone who wishes to support him, will do so as individuals.”

Dichaba acknowledged that the ward in question was highly contested, where loyalties were fiercely divided over the ward councillor.

“After the by-elections we will go to that ward to try and resolve the differences. We kindly request the community to allow the appointed ward councillor to complete his term.”

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