Alarm over attacks on elderly in KZN

2012-10-24 09:53
(File, Nielen Bottomley, News24)

(File, Nielen Bottomley, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal mayor says attacks on elderly women in the province are becoming a disturbing trend, after a woman was found brutally murdered in her house at St Chad’s in Ladysmith on Sunday morning.

Qeda Sithole, 75, who lived alone, was found badly beaten. Her left eye was gouged out of its socket and it is believed that she was raped.

Locals also found that she had been violated with a vegetable.

A handbag, money and ID book were stolen from the house.

Attempts to speak to Sithole’s family were unsuccessful.

No arrests were made and Ezakheni police are investigating a murder case.

Drugs

Emnambithi/Ladysmith Mayor Vincent Madlala said a neighbour had gone to check on Sithole and discovered the gruesome scene.

Madlala said the rape and murder of elderly women was becoming a trend that needed urgent attention.

“We have noted with concern young people on a crusade to rape and murder our mothers and grandmothers. We have also noted that this is a provincial trend and we believe that those involved are driven by woonga, dagga and other drugs before they commit these heinous crimes. How else do you explain the mental state of someone who rapes and shoves a butternut up his mother’s private parts?

“Something has gone terribly wrong with the youth of today and we need to act promptly. They don’t have a conscience,” said Madlala.

The mayor, who became emotional when speaking to The Witness, said his municipality was planning to engage other stakeholders, including the social welfare department, to craft a way forward in creating a safe environment for elderly people.

“First we need to create a platform for communities to share ideas on how to deal with this matter. Then we will engage relevant government departments and share ideas on how to protect our senior citizens,” he said.

Other cases

On Monday, The Witness reported that an elderly couple were hanged at kwaSwayimane.

About two weeks ago, an 84-year-old woman was repeatedly raped by her granddaughter’s boyfriend in the area, but fortunately she lived to tell the tale.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said since there was no sign of a trend that elderly women were being targeted, all murders are treated the same.

Simnikiwe Biyela, director of trauma, rape and HIV counselling services at LifeLine, said the rape of elderly women was shocking and heartbreaking, and a signal of how severe the moral degeneration was in communities.

“Respect and care for the elderly was one of the things South Africans were proud of in the past. But these repeated rape incidents clearly indicate that the spirit of Ubuntu is gone in our communities. Rape perpetrators are always looking for easy targets,” said Biyela.

She urged people to report the abuse of elderly citizens.
 
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