On Human Rights Day last week, Wednesday March 21, a group of angry women protested outside Gugulethu police station, warning police that if they released a rape suspect, they would “deal with him”.
And the residents of Terminus Road in KTC have called on women to join them in the fight against rape which was rampant in the area.
Outside the police station, the protesting women sang songs calling for the emancipation of women while waiting for police officials to receive their memorandum. As a show of support, drivers of passing cars hooted and some raised their fists through open windows.
Among their demands was a call for the re-introduction of the death penalty, and changes to the current justice system which “favoured men”.
The leader of the group of about 50 women, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of harassment, said rape had become commonplace in KTC.
She said the alleged rapist, whose release they were protesting against, stands accused of raping a woman and her daughter in their home. “We came here to urge the police not to give him bail or release him or we will deal with him,” she said.
“Should police release him, we will have to baptise him.
“We cannot live like animals in our own homes. Rape has become a norm. This has to stop now,” she said.
Another protester, who identified herself only as Philiswa, believed women should come together to stop violence against women.
She said when “stood in silos”, they created an opportunity for men to exploit them.
“This fight is ours, as women. We ought to stand up and fight these beasts that rape and kill women,” she said.
Philiswa added that she believed one day men would realise the pain they inflicted on women and children.
“I hope the day they start respecting themselves they will realise what they are doing is not nice.
“Men should also stand up for us because we are their women, wives and daughters. What kind of society are they creating by raping and killing us?”
She also appealed to police to work with them.
Gugulethu police spokesperson Constable Sindisiwe Ngqele said the 40-year-old man had been arrested for the rape of two women aged 18 and 48, but only after residents had already assaulted him.
“Police arrived late and he was assaulted,” she said.
“Residents were complaining about the police who did not help them on the day of incident. Police are investigating the matter, but I must say it is not acceptable for the police not to assist the communities. It is the duty of each and every member of SAPS to serve the people in the community.”
Constable Ngqele said the man remained in police custody and they urged people not to take the law into their own hands.