Community organisations are pleading with residents not to take the law into their hands, after a man, who allegedly raped a 9-year-old girl, was attacked in Tottenham Street, Freedom Park, on Friday January 5.
This comes just more than a month after another man was attacked for allegedly committing the same crime in Tafelsig on Friday December 1.
In that incident, the man tried to hide on the premises of an organisation in Dassenberg Street to escape the wrath of the community (“Anger over rape”, Plainsman, December 6 2017).
Henry Arends, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum, said there were serious implications for those who participate in vigilantism.
“We firmly believe that this is not the way. We don’t condone these vigilante attacks,” he said.
Mr Arends said it does not solve anything and that vigilantes could face criminal charges.
These attacks may also hamper the services of the police, ambulances and other emergency services.
“An ambulance might be needed in the community. They go to police to be escorted, then the police say they can’t help because they are a vehicle short because it was stoned,” he said.
“We need to look at ourselves. Mobilise ourselves. Join organisations or street committees and see how we can mitigate or eradicate this virus or inhumane act of raping our women,” he said.
Mr Arends said he understood residents’ frustrations but that they should reach out to organisations for information on how to report matters.
Since December 1 the forum has had three rapes, of girls aged between 6 and 9, reported to them.
The forum supports and counsels rape victims and their families, they assist in reporting the matter, counselling, and attend court to oppose bail.
Mitchell’s Plain Impact Association (MPIA) chairperson Joanie Fredericks spoke to the Plainsman yesterday, Tuesday January 9, while awaiting the court appearance of a man who stands accused of charges of rape, murder, distribution of pornography and intimidation.
Ms Fredericks sends out notices via WhatsApp notifying contacts about the court appearances of alleged rapists and violent perpetrators. According to her latest Facebook post the man was due back in court to apply for bail.
On the MPIA’s Facebook, page Ms Fredericks writes: “So many of you have given up on the justice system. But how many of you have actually come to court to actively participate in keeping suspected rapists like him off the streets and out of our communities?”
She encourages residents to attend these court appearances.
“Go one step further and be part of fighting for the harshest possible sentence when trial starts,” she said.