Community demolishes shacks of alleged rapist

Ward councillor Sonwabo Ngxumza and local committee chairperson Thembinkosi Bala assess the damage at one of the shacks destroyed by the residents last Saturday.

Angry residents demolished shacks in Lotus informal settlement in Gugulethu which belong to a local popular dance teacher and torched his belongings on Saturday.

The angry residents said they were taking the law into their own hands in an attempt to get rid of crime in their area.

The dance teacher has been accused of raping young girls who belong to his dance group, touching others inappropriately and chatting with them on Facebook.

According to the locals, after hearing the news of rape, locals called a meeting at the community hall last Saturday.

It was agreed that he should be chased out of the area and an angry mob then decided to demolish his shack and that of his wife who, according to the residents is in the Eastern Cape.

Two shacks were demolished by angry residents.

One resident said they decided to call him to the meeting so that he could answer for himself.

The local committee chairperson Thembinkosi Bala the committee had tried to convince the family of the victim to report the case to police.

He said on Sunday all they heard was that residents broke down the walls, roofs and windows. He said some of his furniture was removed and torched at the nearby field.

“It is true that residents have broken down his shack and that of his wife. I do not have the full details of what happened in the meeting but I was in the first meeting where we advised the family to go the legal route.

“As the committee we have no power to discuss rape and murder. That is police work and we do not condone anybody to discuss those serious issues,” he said.

He said residents believed that demolishing the house would help some children heal and forget about his house.

Mr Bala described the man as a gentleman who helped the children a lot. He said he was disappointed to hear the allegations that he had raped or molested children in his group.

“We trusted him and were always willing to get funding for his project,” said Mr Bala.

Ward councillor Sonwabo Ngxumza said he understood that the community wanted the accused out of the area. But he said the community needed to know what rape was a serious crime and had to be reported to the police.

“Even the family wanted to discuss the issue with the alleged rapist, but I refused to be part of that. I told them rape is a serious case so it must be reported straight to the police.

“Rape and gender-based violence is high in the country we cannot just do away so easily. I appeal to people not report murder and rape to us but must go to police,” he said.

Mr Ngxumza also expressed his shock at the allegations as the man had helped keep children off the streets. “I won’t lie, I am disappointed. That guy has been helping this community. But we will always support the victim of such crimes until the court of law proves us wrong. We will never condone crime and especially rape and gender-based violence,” he said.

The neighbour described the dance teacher as “a nice guy”.

Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that a 38-year-old dance instructor had been arrested in Gugulethu last Sunday following the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl. Colonel Traut said the circumstances surrounding the case were under investigation.