A KwaZulu-Natal man has been denied bail on Wednesday by the Verulam Magistrate’s Court, just north of the Durban central business district, after facing charges of kidnapping and statutory rape.
South African Police Service media liaison officer Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed the incident with African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday.
“We can confirm a 34-year-old suspect was arrested in Dundee for rape. He appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on 1 October 2020 and the case was remanded to 7 October for bail application,” Gwala said.
The suspect will remain in custody at Westville prison in Durban until his next court appearance.
The incident was initially reported by a Durban-based private security company, Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), on September 1, when the suspect allegedly ran away with his 12-year-old neighbour.
According to a RUSA statement, the victim’s family approached them on the morning of September 1, seeking assistance after they noticed their daughter and neighbour had gone missing.
“The parents realised that her bag and clothes were taken from their home. They immediately approached the home of their neighbour for assistance,” RUSA said in a statement on September 1.
The suspect’s wife confirmed that her husband’s clothes and belongings were also missing.
The suspect and his wife have four young children together.
Later that day, a relative saw the victim and suspect enter a vehicle in Isipingo.
After putting out a missing persons report, RUSA received intelligence of a possible sighting of the 12-year-old and the suspect in the Richards Bay area, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
“The man and female were located at a home in Brackenham. They were found in the company of the suspect’s extended family,” explained RUSA.
“Officers then transported them back to Cornubia and reunited the child with her family.”
The suspect was allegedly released by RUSA officers after the victim stated that he did not touch her, nor did they engage in any sexual activity.
She told RUSA that they had both absconded to celebrate her 13th birthday because of verbal abuse at home.
An hour later, RUSA and the police were called to the victim’s home after she informed her family that she was in fact raped at the residence in Brackenham.
“She further informed the family that she had engaged in sexual activity with the suspect at her residence prior to them absconding.”
A case of statutory rape and kidnapping was opened and the girl was sent for a medical examination to confirm the allegations against the suspect.
“The medical report confirmed that the 12-year-old child had been penetrated,” RUSA added.
The suspect fled his home, allegedly in an attempt to evade an arrest after hearing that the child had undergone medical examinations.
After almost a month of searching, RUSA arrested the suspect in the Dundee area, a small town around 300km west of the Durban CBD.
“Members of Reaction Unit South Africa tracked and arrested a 34-year-old male near Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal for the rape of his 12-year-old neighbour,” RUSA said in a statement on September 29.
“According to the suspect’s wife, she believed that her husband was in a sexual relationship with the minor and reported the suspicion to the victim’s family. She added that they had rubbished her story and failed to act, believing that an affair with a 22-year age gap was not possible,” RUSA explained.
“At approximately 14:07 the suspect was spotted inside a tavern serving customers through a hatch. Officers converged on the building and restrained him.”
RUSA questioned the suspect about the allegations against him, which he confirmed.
“He added that he was in possession of several WhatsApp messages from the child, requesting him to visit when she was home alone. The suspect also informed officers that the girl had called him daily on his mobile phone, and on one occasion she called him approximately 100 times,” RUSA said.