Southernwood man, 50, accused of raping minors

A 50-year-old Southernwood man has been arrested for allegedly raping an undisclosed number of minor girls in the East London suburb.

There was drama in the East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday when women in the gallery shouted: “You are not welcome to live with us again.”

Some also threatened his life.

The silver-haired man with a ponytail, moustache and goatee looked afraid when the comments were hurled at him.

The Daily Dispatch was not allowed to see the charge sheet.

State prosecutor Asanda Nolusu said the state was opposing bail, and that the charge, a Schedule 6 offence, came with a harsh sentence.

The rape of a person under 16 years, or a mentally or physically disabled person is a Schedule 6 offence and carries a life sentence.

Nolusu asked magistrate Rochelle Sam to postpone the matter for further investigation.

Nolusu said the state was awaiting an outstanding psychological report.

She said the investigating officer also had to compile a photo album of the scenes and get witness statements.

When the accused was called to the dock and asked how he would like to be represented in court, he chose Legal Aid.

Sam postponed the matter to March 26 for further investigation and then transferred the bail application to the B court, where magistrate Siyabulela Pango postponed it until tomorrow.

Both courts were packed with angry residents, who called for bail to be denied.

B court prosecutor Thulani Solani told the court that the suspect had complained that he was not fed the entire day.

The statement sparked an uproar in court with some shouting: “He doesn’t deserve food!”, and: “Let him starve”.

Solani warned the gallery that members of the public would be ordered out of court if they continued their loud behaviour when the suspect returned tomorrow.

At court, two parents said they had opened cases for their three girls.

One mother said she called the police last week about what had allegedly happened to her two girls, aged six and 10.

“It is actually my friend’s daughter who let the cat out of the bag during an argument with my six-year-old daughter,” she said.

Holding back tears, the visibly emotional parent told the Dispatch how it came out when her friend’s daughter lashed out at her daughter about the alleged abuse.

She then alerted other parents, who also then started reporting claims of sexual abuse.

“More than 10 women have opened cases while others have taken their children for tests,” the mother claimed.

Another parent opened a case after medical tests came back confirming that a nine-year-old had allegedly been severely molested.

The accused was arrested on Thursday at his Southernwood home. — malibongwed@

dispatch.co.za

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