WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Residents of Driefontein, also known as Soul Mkhizeville, outside Mkhondo in Mpumalanga, are calling for the intervention of the provincial government in the fight against crime, especially Gender-based violence (GBV).
This follows the arrest of a 21-year-old man accused of raping an unconfirmed number of women in the area. Nhlanhla Mlotshwa recently appeared in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court to face three cases of rape, kidnapping, and murder.
“I am shocked and disappointed. I’m lost for words. This has really affected me and I have sleepless nights. I don’t believe that a normal human being would do such things. I’m heartbroken.”
Nlanhla Mlotshwa’s grandmother expressed her devastation following the arrest of her grandson for murder.
Nhlanhla is accused of raping and killing women by stabbing or slitting their throats. He is also accused of committing similar crimes in Paulpietersburg in KwaZulu-Natal.
So far, he is linked to five murder cases. Police say more cases could be added once the DNA tests are completed. Nhlanhla’s grandmother is planning to meet with the families of the victims.
“To the families of the victims, I wish to say I share the pain with them. I don’t know how they are at this point. I am also a mother and I know the pain of losing a loved one. The other painful this is that Nhlanhla’s younger brother is also not coping at school. Nhlanhla’s uncle cannot walk freely in the streets because people are insulting him. I don’t know what to do now.”
Some of the family members of the victims say they will only find closure when Nhlanhla is convicted and subsequently sentenced.
“I know Nhlanhla and his girlfriend very well in such a way that I would have conversations from time to time. The only thing we want from Nhlanhla is to show the place where my sister was killed, before dumping her body. My mother is depressed and she has even lost weight. My sister’s child also cries a lot when he misses his mother.”
“We welcome his arrest, but that is not enough. We want to see him convicted and given a hefty sentence.”
Government to intervene
Community members believe that police cannot conduct daily patrols, especially at night because of the impassable gravel roads.
They also say installing street lights could help combat crime in the area. Safety, Security, and Liason MEC, Vusi Shongwe, has promised that government will intervene.
“We are deeply concerned and deeply hurt that there is a boy of 21 years who is raping females in a form of a serial approach way. He is not only raping them but also cutting their throats and going to an extent of putting their underwear into the wounds. We are going to make a call that together with all spheres of government in that area, ranging from the municipality and national, and try to contentious the community of Driefontain that they must assist in making sure that they defend each other from that gruesome act of that young person.”
Nhlanhla Mlotshwa, also known as Nhlanhla Shabangu, will appear again in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court on the 4th of August.
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