Accused’s house torched

Khayelitsha residents torched the house of a man accused of the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. Fire and rescue services said firefighters withdrew, fearing for their lives after the crowd became volatile.

There were tense moments at Khayelitsha’s I – Section on Tuesday September 3 when residents met to discuss allegations that the man arrested for the murder of University of Cape Town (UCT) student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, was from the area.

Councillor Patrick Mngxunyeni listened to community members as they voiced their displeasure at having the man living in their neighbourhood.

“The residents told us that the man accused of the murder was not wanted in their area. The house he lived in belonged to a deceased relative and that there were shenanigans in the manner in which he purchased it. Ever since he bought the house they have been objecting to him living there because of his criminal record,” said Mr Mngxunyeni.

The meeting became rowdy as parents of teenagers came out alleging that the man had tried to lure three of their daughters into his office.

After local leaders left the meeting, the angry crowd started burning the house where the accused lived.

A fire truck was prevented from dousing the fire.

A 42-year-old South African Post Office employee, who cannot be named until an identity parade has been done, was arrested last Thursday at 8pm for the murder of Uyinene.

Colonel Maree Louw from Claremont police said the arrest came after they received a tip-off that the Clareinch post office in Claremont might be a crime scene as blood was spotted on a mop.

“Captain Craig Philips cordoned off the crime scene and the Local Criminal Record Centre took fingerprints and DNA samples on the scene,” she said.

Colonel Louw said as the employee was not at work during the day, detectives waited outside the post office and the suspect drove past last Thursday evening.

“Sergeant Wayne Botha arrested the suspect and shoes with blood were found in the boot of the vehicle. He confessed to the murder of Uyinene and also pointed out the location where he disposed the body,” said Colonel Louw.

The suspect appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday September 2, where prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi told the court that the accused was charged with rape and murder as well as defeating the ends of justice.

According to reports in the Cape Times, Ms Konisi told the court that Uyinene went to the Clareinch post office to collect a parcel.

“The lights were out and the accused asked her to return later and when she returned, he accosted her and allegedly raped her, she fought back and he hit her with a scale,” said Ms Konisi.

“The accused later dumped her body in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha, and took investigators to the scene.”

Uyinene’s disappearance was posted by the Pink Ladies organisation last week via their social media site.

UCT held a night vigil in Uyinene’s honour on Monday September 2. Her death and the sexual assault and murders of so many other women and girls over the past few weeks when women were meant to be celebrated as part of the annual Women’s Month in August, led to an online petition where people are rallying behind the call, “Bring Back The Death Sentence in SA For Crimes Against Women”.

The petition has over 500 000 signatures already.

Over the past five months, five other young women in the Cape have died in horrific circumstances: Janika Mallo, 14, from Heinz Park was found dead in her grandmother’s yard on Sunday September 1 with her head bashed in and she was possibly raped; Jesse Hess, 19, a University of the Western Cape student from Parow was killed in her flat last Friday August 30 where her 85-year-old grandfather was also killed; 30-year-old Meghan Cremer’s body was found at a sand mine on a Philippi farm on the morning of Thursday August 8 after she was missing from August 3; the dismembered body of Lynette Volschenk, 32, was found stashed in plastic bags in her Bellville flat on Thursday August 22 and eight-month pregnant Sadiqah Newman, 26, was shot multiple times on her way to a shop in Tambo Village near Manenberg on Thursday August 8.

Albert Fritz, Community Safety MEC, said the “commonness” of gender-based violence in our society is of grave concern.

“We cannot tolerate violence, harm or abuse of women in any shape or form,” he said.

The accused in Uyinene’s murder case will be back in court on Tuesday November 5 via an audio link from prison.