Controversy over alleged child rapists

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SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY: Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, Nomadewuka Nancy Sihlwayi, came to Kenton-on-Sea last week to show support for the community in the case of two elderly white men who have been charged with raping underage black children from the Ekuphumleni township. Behind her is community leader Petros Majola who brought the case to the MEC’s attention and also drafted the petition handed to her Picture: ROB KNOWLES

THE case of an elderly white man from Kenton-on-Sea, who was arrested earlier this year for rape and sexual molestation of minors, was the subject of a formal protest by Ekuphumleni residents last Friday, who objected to him recently being granted by the Grahamstown High Court.

Around 60 people attended the protest march from the Ekuphumleni township, across the R72, to the Kenton Magistrate’s Court to await the arrival of Social Development MEC Nomadewuka Nancy Sihlwayi, who was on a week-long visit to the area to try and resolve any problems encountered by various communities.

Khula Community Development Project director, Petros Majola, handed the memorandum to Sihlwayi who, in turn, gave reassurances to those present that she would not rest until justice was seen to be done.

The memorandum is a condemnation of the courts for granting the man bail.

Initially, two men, one in his late 60s and the other in his early 80s, were charged separately for the alleged crimes by two girls, both aged 12 years, who accused the men of raping them. Neither of the men have yet pleaded and, until they do, their identities cannot be divulged.

In the case of the older man his bail application was denied by magistrate Louis Muller at Kenton in October. Muller then recused himself from the bench to allow another magistrate, CBJ Wright, to deal with the second accused.

“Although it would not have affected my judgement, I believe another magistrate should handle the other case,” said Muller at the time. “This case must be concluded here in Kenton and justice must be seen to be done.”

Ultimately both men were refused bail, but the younger of the two, who is being defended by attorney Basil Williams, contested his denial of bail on the grounds that the state had insufficient evidence against him. In a contorted series of events charges were dropped and then reinstated and now both men are being charged jointly for the rape and sexual molestation of minors.

Williams said there were a number of inconsistencies in investigating officer Linda Tele’s evidence during the original bail hearing, including the wrong age of one of the girls as well as an incorrect address being used. When the accused made application to the Grahamstown High Court in November, he was released on R5 000 bail.

The community objected to the man’s release saying that this has become a racial issue.

In the memorandum there is a paragraph that highlights this issue. It reads, “In this case we have some questions because we assume that the colour of [the alleged perpetrators] skin has contributed a lot when the office of the N
ational Prosecuting Authority and the Department of Justice were taking this decision.”

The memorandum goes on to say that the man on bail is not a South African and has been living and working illegally in South Africa for the last 18 years.

“Also at the same Kenton-on-Sea a black man was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for spanking a white lady. Nothing else but erotic spanking and sentenced to 25 years, but a white man is granted bail for raping a number of poor black children who come from a vulnerable community,” the memorandum continues.

However, it appears that this statement came from former Ndlambe councillor for Kenton, Zache Ngxingo who, on being questioned, admitted he knew little about this “spanking” episode, and that the perpetrator in that case had broken into the woman’s house, had robbed her and sexually abused her while holding a lethal weapon.

Sihlwayi said she would look into the matter of the man being granted bail and put pressure on the courts to complete the case as soon as possible.

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