The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has applauded members of the public for providing information which assisted in locating a 29-year-old man who had evaded police for years, in connection with rape cases that occurred between 2010 and 2019.
According to the information at police disposal, on 25 September 2010, a 32-year-old woman was with her male friend at Kwaggafontein C when they were approached by two armed male suspects who allegedly assaulted the male friend and robbed them of their personal items. They (suspects) then dragged the woman to the nearby bushes where she was repeatedly raped before they fled the scene. The matter was reported to the police at Kwaggafontein where a case was opened and a manhunt launched for the suspects.
In another incident which occurred on 07 August 2011 at around 02h00 am. It is said that a woman was with a friend and they were both coming back from a traditional ceremony at Kwaggafontein A, when a suspect attacked them. The friend is said to have managed to escape but the 22-year-old woman was unsuccessful in her attempt to escape. She was allegedly raped by the suspect who also stabbed her before he threw her into a reservoir and fled. The victim managed to swim out of the reservoir and sought for help. This incident too was reported to the police at Kwaggafontein where a rape case was opened with an additional charge of attempted murder. A manhunt was also launched for the suspect.
On 01 June 2012 at about 23h50 it is said that two girls were on their way home at Kwaggafontein C when an armed man suddenly appeared and held them at gunpoint. One of the girls managed to flee whilst the other girl, aged 17 was held hostage by the suspect. She was dragged by the suspect to a nearby bush and raped. This incident was reported to police at Kwaggafontein as well and a case opened accordingly.
Reports further indicate that on 03 May 2019 at about 20h00 a suspect pounced on two girls at their place of residence in Kwaggafontein C. One of the girls escaped whilst the other, aged 15, was raped by the suspect who then fled the scene after the incident. Police at Kwaggafontein were also informed about the incident and a case was opened.
The said cases were assigned to an investigation team from Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) at Kwamhlanga. The astute members worked tirelessly and through the information provided by members of the public, the suspect was finally arrested at Kwaggafontein on Thursday, 19 August 2021. He made his first appearance at the Mkobola Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 20 August 2021 where he was remanded in custody. He is expected to appear again in court on 26 August 2021.
The Provincial Commissioner, further indicated that the breakthrough occurred during Women’s Month and such efforts indicate that the SAPS is determined to squeeze the space for perpetrators of gender-based violence. She also promised the public that the information that they provided will surely be used to achieve the ultimate goal of creating safe environment for citizens, including the vulnerable groups.