Hawks search for uncle who ‘married off’ orphaned niece in the Eastern Cape

The Hawks are searching for a Mbizana man who allegedly “married” off his 13-year-old orphaned niece to a 58-year-old Port Elizabeth man.

The suspected paedophile who has been “married” to and living with the teenager for seven months, has been arrested while the uncle remains at large.

The Hawks have launched a manhunt for the unnamed uncle.

The man who “married” the child is in custody pending a formal bail application. He was arrested on April 25 and appeared in court the following day.

He will appear again on May 15.

Hawks spokeswoman Captain Anelisa Feni said the alleged paedophile appeared in the Magistrate’s Court in Port Elizabeth on charges of “ukuthwala”, rape and child trafficking. Feni said both the victim’s parents had died three years ago, leaving the then 10-year-old in the care of the uncle.

“The uncle allegedly agreed with the 58-year-old man to forcefully marry the girl to him through the ukuthwala tradition.”

Feni said the victim was transported to Port Elizabeth by the uncle to the man’s house where the two lived together from September 2016 until the April 25 arrest, when officials from the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit and the Organised Crime unit of the Hawks stormed the house.

Feni said more arrests were imminent in the case.

In January the Hawks arrested three people aged between 26 and 70 on trafficking charges at Ntlazi in Baziya Administrative Area, Mthatha. The 26-year-old was charged with abduction and attempted rape while a 51- and 70-year-old face charges of trafficking in persons. Two of the men are accused of “marrying” off their under-age granddaughter to the 26-year-old man. The three will appear in the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court on May 31.

A 39-year-old Gompo woman was arrested by the Hawks on fraud charges after she allegedly used her brother’s R1.4-million Road Accident Fund damage claim for herself.

Nokulunga Mavuso allegedly received the money in 2013 on behalf of her brother, 36, who was injured in a car accident in 2009. According to the Hawks Mavuso didn’t give a cent to her brother. She was arrested by the Hawks on April 26 and appeared in court on the same day. She was given R2000 bail. The woman was arrested by the commercial crime wing of the Hawks.

Mavuso will appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court on June 30. — DispatchLIVE

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