NELSON Mandela Bay councillor Nomvuselelo Tontsi has threatened to mobilise rape survivors to take the law into their own hands and cut off the penises of suspected rapists should police fail to arrest them.
At the launch of the R13-million phase one upgrade of Kings Beach, which is almost complete, Tontsi said she was furious at the lack of action by police in investigating the case of rape victim Andy Kawa, to whom the upgrade was dedicated yesterday.
Kawa, originally from the Bay and who now lives in Johannesburg, survived a 15-hour gang attack in December 2010 when she was held hostage by a gang and raped repeatedly on the Kings Beach sand dunes until the early hours of the morning.
She was attacked by a gang of between three and five men while taking an evening walk.
As head of the metro’s gender desk, Tontsi said she had lobbied political leaders in the Bay to put pressure on police to prioritise their investigations of gender violence and rape cases.
“Why until now has nothing happened with Kawa’s case?
“I met Giraffe [the nickname given to regional ANC head Nceba Faku] and said that if such things continue, we will take the law into our own hands. We will cut off their [rapists’] penises,” Tontsi said. “We will fight until the perpetrators are in jail.”
She said women were angry over police apathy in investigating rape cases and would picket outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court in North End where a suspect will appear in connection with Kawa’s rape today.
He is Mzwandile Jakavula, 52, a bush dweller, who was arrested days after the rape. Police have arrested another two suspects.
Kawa said the police had contacted her last month for the first time since her ordeal to serve her with a subpoena to testify.
However, she praised the municipality, which had helped her pick up the pieces of her life following the traumatic event.
“It is a dream for me to be standing here where I nearly lost my life 14 months ago,” Kawa said.
“My 23-year-old daughter has vowed never to visit PE again in the wake of what happened to me, but with this development here at Kings Beach, perhaps she will see something is being done to address crime and return.”
Detailing the help she had received from the municipality, Kawa said she had held several meetings about safety and security along the Bay beachfront with deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi.
Of the imminent launch of her campaign against rape, “Enough is Enough”, Kawa said: “As a rape survivor, the shame does not belong to me. It belongs to the rapist.”
Humewood station commander Brigadier Ronald Koll said police had prioritised Kawa’s case.
“We have done a lot. We have made an arrest and done DNA testing. We found a person with items belonging to her, who led us to further suspects.
“We have made numerous presentations to our principals as to the progress on the case.
“Kawa’s case is being handled by the sexual offences unit, which specialises in such cases.”
On the significance of the beachfront upgrade, mayor Zanoxolo Wayile said Kawa was being honoured as a survivor, adding: “We want to open a chapter of hope with this development.”
The R25-million second stage of the upgrade is planned to begin in the new financial year.