THE quiet environment at the King William’s Town Magistrate’s Court turned into chaos last week as frustrated family and community members staged a protest in their quest to oppose bail to an offender alleged to have committed a serious offence.
They came to show solidarity after a mentally challenged woman was allegedly raped by a local Malawian man in Schornville on New Year’s Day.
Picketing with anti-rape placards at the main entrance of the court, the group of about 100 protesters grew rapidly as they were joined by leaders and members of the neighbouring Breidbach community.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Schornville community member Subria Van Eck said they strongly condemn the brutal offence which occurred within their peaceful community and they would stand united in opposing bail for the offender.
“An injury to one is an injury to all in the Schornville community and we are here to make sure that the thug who committed such a brutal and inhumane offence will not be released but die behind bars,” Van Eck said.
“We are thankful for the phenomenal support received from the Breidbach and surrounding areas and appreciate their solidarity.”
A family member said they had been celebrating New Year’s Day when her sister entered the home in a state of shock and told them she had been hurt.
“Our sister is friendly, known by everyone and used to walk the streets and visiting people and I immediately discovered that something is wrong when she started crying,” a tearful family member said.
“She pointed to us where blood was running from her upper legs and after we asked her where it happened, she took us to the house of the alleged offender.”
When confronted about the incident the man denied everything to the family but was arrested by the police later the afternoon.
Breidbach Sanco member Anastacia Gosling said she was touched deeply by the seriousness of the crime and after been informed had immediately mobilised her members to support the call.
“These types of crimes are just unacceptable in society and we will do everything possible to see justice is done,” Gosling said.
“We have promised the family and community to stand by them all the way, and ordered the group leaders to complete a petition which we personally handed to the commander of the Family, Violence Child Protection & Sexual Offences (FCS) unit to strengthen their grounds to oppose bail.”
The brother of the 51-year-old victim, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was irritated by the manner in which the police handled the case.
“After arresting the suspect, it took them three days later to visit the scene, which I personally think is not on as it can cause the case to be thrown out of court,” he said.
“We visited the police station to have a word with the investigating officer and it was only yesterday that forensic officials visited the crime scene.”
The case was postponed to tomorrow, with the accused remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, the community held a meeting at the Schornville hall where they were supported and advised by a delegation of Sanco members including EC provincial deputy president Dan Bolman and Buffalo City Metro regional organiser Craig Davids.
Caption for image:
JOIN THE CALL: Schornville residents supported by the Breidbach community protest to oppose bail for a rape accused at the King William’s Town Magistrate’s Court last week Picture: DESMOND COETZEE