A 44-year-old man has been arrested after he allegedly stabbed a 19-year-old girl during a failed rape attempt in the Matiwane area at Ladysmith, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

The suspect escaped mob justice when community members chased after him. Two of the girls he allegedly attacked, managed to escape and call for help. He is alleged to have been recently released from prison after serving a rape sentence.

Police spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele says the suspect is due to appear in court next week.

Mbhele adds, “The information that we have is that they were on their way to collect fire wood when the women were approached by the suspect who then grabbed the victim and tried to rape her but fortunately she was fighting back. The suspect ran away after he saw the community coming towards him, he ran to an Induna’s house where he was arrested by police and a case of attempted murder as well as attempted rape has been opened for investigation. The suspect will appear in court on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, an Induna in the area, Nomsa Mbatha says the suspect was also identified by some community members as the one who had been allegedly terrorising women in the area recently.

“He ran for refuge at the local tribal leader’s house when he saw that a group of community members were chasing after him and he was probably going to die. He just got out of jail and I’m disheartened by the incident. It’s sad that he attacked these girls because he stays close to them and he probably saw them carrying sacks to fetch cow dung in the mountains. A girl who was with the victim, also identified him at the chiefs house saying he also tried to grab her. We were also unaware that he came out of jail because he was arrested in the 90s.”