Two days into the national 16 Days of Activism, an 81-year-old woman was found in a pool of blood, gruesomely murdered in her home.
The elderly woman, also allegedly raped, lived in the village of Tsembeyi in Cacadu where Eastern Cape premier, Oscar Mabuyane, had gone to launch the provincial leg of the campaign.
She was found on Tuesday morning by her sister in-law, who had gone to check on her after her daughter in Cape Town said she could not get hold of her.
Nosinara Hlangana, who was first on the scene, described the sight as horrific, saying it still stuck in her mind.
“When I got there I could barely open the door. I tried to push it and found clothes and pillows all over the house.
“I called her by name because I saw her lying there. When she did not answer I moved closer and saw that she was dead. That is when I screamed for help,” said Hlangana.
According to neighbours, the elderly woman stayed with her son who has a mental disability.
Mayor of Emalahleni Local Municipality, Nontombizanele Koni, visited the home after hearing of the murder.
She said she was “deeply saddened by the evil incidents that took place in the village on the same day the premier, Oscar Mabuyane, was in our area with the entire provincial leadership. We were disturbed by the news that an elderly person was raped and killed.
“We appeal to all community members to work hand in hand with government in fighting rape, murder, drug and substance abuse. We also appeal to all people to be watchdogs and fight this inhuman behaviour. We are happy with the police’s swift response and we hope the law will take its course,” said Koni.
A 24-year-old suspect was arrested on the same day after police conducted a “disruptive operation”.
“Police were alerted and on arrival they found the body of the deceased lying in a bed with her throat cut. A murder case was opened and the 72-hour activation commenced. A disruptive operation was carried out in the village led by Eastern Cape provincial commissioner, lieutenant general Liziwe Ntshinga,” said police spokesperson, captain Namhla Mdleleni.
Ntshinga commended the detectives involved in the operation.
“We were here yesterday to launch the 16 Days of Activism and today we are here again to witness this gruesome murder. This can only mean the problem is deeper and we need to make a concerted effort to eliminate this cowardly attack and preying on the weakest members of society.
“We call on all men to join in this fight to guarantee the safety of everyone,” said Ntshinga.