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Elderly woman attacked in home

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It is believed that by the time police and medical personnel arrived on the scene, she was already untied

OUTCRY: Pupils from Kimberley Islamic School wrapped in bandages with blood in solidarity with the national outcry against gender-based violence. Picture: Soraya Crowie

WHILE the country has been reeling from the recent spate of femicide attacks and gender-based violence, Kimberley and Jacobsdal have also felt the brunt.

Yesterday, a 78-year-old Jacobsdal woman was attacked by two men in the house where she lives alone.

Due to the fact that the police are investigating a possible sexual crime, the DFA has chosen not to identify the victim in the interest of her privacy.

According to sources, the incident happened at around 8.30am yesterday morning.

“From what we can gather, she had let her gardener in and he was joined soon afterwards by a friend. They then forced the woman into a bedroom where they tied her up. However, she started screaming and the two ran away.”

It is believed that by the time police and medical personnel arrived on the scene, she was already untied.

The woman was transported to Mediclinic Gariep in Kimberley where she is currently being treated.

Mediclinic Gariep spokesperson Denise Coetzee said that the woman had visible marks on her neck and wrists. “Doctors have sedated her and she will be kept at the hospital for observation and until her family has arrived.”

According to Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Sinah Mpakane, at this stage the police are only investigating a case of attempted rape.

“If more evidence presents itself, we will open more charges,” Mpakane said.

She added that at this stage it appears as if nothing was stolen, but emphasised that only once the investigation is complete will the police be able to confirm this.

“The information we have received is that the 78-year-old victim was alone in her house at the time of the attack. We have also been informed that she is currently sedated and she is the only one who can identify her attackers and tell us exactly what happened,” Mpakane said.

Meanwhile, a prayer meeting and vigil was held at a house in Bloemanda yesterday for missing Noncedo Innocentia Zothani.

Zothani, 26, went missing almost a week ago and the family has only received one SMS from her.

“All the message said was, ‘I’m fine’. In light of what has been happening in our country, we are extremely worried about her as we believe she may be with an ex-boyfriend from Bloemfontein. We do not know him, so we are concerned for her safety,” a family member said yesterday.

Zothani was last seen leaving Shoprite in Bultfontein Road, where she worked, on September 3.

“Please help us bring her home,” her family pleaded yesterday.

The city came together this past weekend to denounce the recent acts of femicide and gender-based violence.

Various government institutions, schools, churches and NGOs took to the streets to show solidarity and sympathy for those who have recently lost their lives and for those who have gone missing.

The Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman’s Anglican Church of Southern Africa also lent its support to the #NotInMyName campaign as well as saying no to any form of violence.

“Following all the dreadful incidents over the past week or so, the Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, the Rt Revd Oswald Swartz, together with the clergy and people of the diocese, marched on Saturday in sympathy with the many South Africans who expressed outrage at the continuing and utterly deplorable levels of violence against the vulnerable in our society,” a statement from the church read.

“Particularly women, children and foreigners bear the brunt of vicious and murderous attacks, rape and various other forms and levels of abuse. These increasingly prevalent behaviours instil fear and lead to the further breakdown of society.

“Individual perpetrators – who live among us, and may even be our family members – exercise choice in committing inhuman acts. At the same time we recognise that behind, and exacerbating, these evils are conditions of structural violence: poverty, joblessness, unequal access to resources, forms of racial and gender discrimination, senses of powerlessness and absence of hope and dignity.

“Ever at the core of the church’s prophetic role has been its call for the care of the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the strangers among us. In the name of God we declare that whoever and wherever we find ourselves we are brought together as human beings in time and place, and are deserving of compassion and care in God’s world.

“We pray for those who would commit the dreadful deeds, that they would desist from the destruction of property and looting, the hurting and abusing, and the killing. We call on all to work towards the removal of the causes of these evils, to take tangible steps to restore human dignity, to afford material well-being and to bring hope in our world.”

Political parties also closed ranks last week and demanded that the government takes action against gender-based violence.

This was despite assurances from President Cyril Ramaphosa that urgent action would be taken to tighten the laws dealing with the killing of women and children.

UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana was buried in her Eastern Cape home on Saturday after her murder by a post office employee.

Several other women, including Jesse Hess, Nolunde Vumsindo, Ayakha Jiyane and Leighandre Jegels, were also murdered recently.

The police indicated that they would release the official crime statistics in the next few weeks after the matter was placed on the Cabinet’s agenda. But the parties said the time for talking was over and the country faced a national crisis that required decisive intervention.

The ANC said it supported interventions.

“We welcome the recognition that violence against women is a national crisis which has reached unacceptable levels. This therefore requires urgent intervention and extraordinary measures,” said the ANC.

It said the criminal justice system should impose harsh sentences on the killers of women and children as those were deplorable crimes and swift action was needed.

DA Women’s Network leader Nomafrench Mbombo said it was a shame that such incidents happened every day but no action was taken against the perpetrators.

“The statistics around the daily occurrence of violence against women and children is well known. Yet as we emerge from Women’s Month, nothing has changed. Women and children are brutalised daily,” said Mbombo.

She said the law should be tough on people who attacked women.

She added that police stations should be a haven for women.

The IFP Women’s Brigade also called for tough action against the perpetrators of violence against women and children.

It said the government should not allow criminals to roam the streets and do as they wished.

The IFP pointed out that many women and children live under serious threat daily and no action is taken.

“We share similar sentiments that femicide and other forms of gender-based violence must be declared a national disaster. We also call upon the justice system and law enforcement agencies to come on board. They must speed up investigations in all ongoing women abuse cases and bring perpetrators to book,” said IFP Women’s Brigade national chairwoman Princess Phumzile Buthelezi.

“Perpetrators must be held accountable and liable for their actions. It is high time that the justice system enforced legislation that criminalises all forms of gender-based violence and grants harsh, consistent rulings for bail and sentencing in gender-based violence cases.”