’Plain community ‘gatvol’ of rapists

Right: The parents of a teenager, who was gang raped, hands Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79, a memorandum and petition to investigate the tenants of a City of Cape Town owned house, where it happened.

The Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum has called on the community to remain calm and seek help instead of resorting to mob justice.

They are supporting the family of a 13-year-old girl who was gang raped on Saturday February 3.

The forum held a meeting at the Baptist Church, in Eastridge, on Tuesday February 6.

Henry Arends, chairman of the forum, invited Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79; Ashley Potts, Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre (CTDCC) director; and pastor Denice Deelman.

Mr Arends said if residents are not given a platform to vent their frustrations and do not know where to turn in times of crisis they “raak gatvol” but this is not the way.

He asked residents to work together to reduce the number of rapes and killings of women and children in the community.

“The time for sweeping things under the carpet has passed. Victims must be strong to speak out and the community must support them,” he said.

The meeting comes after two men in separate incidents were attacked for allegedly raping young girls.

On Friday January 5, a man was attacked in Tottenham Street in Freedom Park for allegedly raping a 9-year-old girl (“Rape accused beaten”, Plainsman, January 10). Another man was attacked for allegedly committing a rape in Tafelsig on Friday December 1.

The 13-year-old girl’s parents handed Mr Philander a memorandum calling on him to have the tenants of the City of Cape Town owned house, where the raped allegedly happened, removed.

“Help and assist the community of Eastridge in following the correct procedure – investigate illegal activities into the house in question; and keep awareness programmes in the area regarding rape and abuse,” read the memorandum.

It also asked that Mr Philander reply within two weeks.

In a petition attached to the memorandum, residents ask that the people living in the house be investigated.

“We believe that the rape of a 13-year-old girl on the premises is sufficient grounds that the house be taken back by the City and possibly used as a safe house for victims of abuse,” it read.

Mr Philander accepted the documents and said residents should hold him accountable.

Captain Ian Williams, spokesman for Mitchell’s Plain police station, told the Plainsman that they are investigating a complaint of rape. “No persons have been arrested. The matter is still under investigation,” he said.

Pastor Denice Deelman spoke about adults taking responsibility for children in their community.

Joanie Fredericks, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Impact Association (MPIA), who also hosted an imbizo at the Nelson Mandela Youth and Family Centre, in Tafelsig, on Thursday January 25, for similar reasons, is helping a family with several rape victims.

The accused is due in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Monday February 26.

Ms Fredericks is calling on the community to attend the court matter and show the magistrate that they have faith in the justice system to keep rapists in jail.