A Port Elizabeth mother accused of cutting off the penis of a man she suspected of her daughter's rape and murder has been released on bail after a fundraising effort by a children's organisation, which refused to see her and her seven-month-old son spend another night behind bars.
Tracy Linde, the founder of Enough is Enough, told News24 that R2 000 had been raised within eight hours as news of Veronique Makwena's inability to pay her R500 bail spread.
Sufficient funds were collected to also buy flowers for murdered five-year-old Chantel's grave. She was reportedly raped, beaten to death with a rock and dumped in an outhouse near her family's Rocklands home on August 3.
Makwena, her sister-in-law Noxolo Manele and friend Siyabonga Phalati have been in jail for the past two weeks after an attack on a man they believed had killed her daughter.
According to HeraldLive, the man - a boyfriend of one of Makwena's friends - had been taken in for questioning and released pending DNA results.
It had been confirmed in court that the man was being treated at a provincial hospital's urology unit after doctors had reattached his penis.
On Monday, Linde said Makwena, like her daughter, was a victim.
"I am a mother, and that is how I looked at it. We are not condoning what she allegedly did, but what parent wouldn't have done the same if given the chance?" she asked.
After the money was raised following a call on Enough is Enough's Facebook page, Linde - who lives in Cape Town - after much running around managed to find someone in Port Elizabeth to pay for the three's release on Sunday.
Makwena is unemployed, and the remaining money would be used for food and goods for her baby boy.
Linde said the organisation was demanding justice not only for little Chantel, but also for her mother.
She argued that it had been reckless to release the man pending the DNA test results as his life was in danger.
"What did they think the community would do?"
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu had told HeraldLive that the man could be rearrested depending on the results of the DNA test.