The brutal murder of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana at a post office in Cape Town has sparked national outrage. Women are speaking out and some are even calling out the men who allegedly abused them, saying enough is enough.
This woman painfully recalled how she was also almost a victim of Uyinene’s alleged killer, Luyanda Botha.
Taking to Facebook to tell her story in detail, Alice Cropper began: “How was Uyinene raped and murdered in broad daylight at the post office by a government employee (hired despite previous armed robbery and sexual assault charges), right next to the police station? I wonder.... [sic]”
She went on to relive an afternoon where she went to the same post office, Clareinch Post Office in Claremont, and was served by Luyanda. He tried to get her to leave and come back a little later by telling her the card machine was not working.
“A few days before, I also went to the Clareinch post office to post some letters for work. There was a man and a woman teller, and I went straight to the male teller. As I started organising my post, he told me that the card machine is offline, but I should come back in a bit and it will probably be back on and he will help me. This was at 4.30pm and the post office was closing in half an hour. I thought about it - I needed to go to the pet store opposite and get Josie some treats, so I could run that errand and pop back, and that's very almost what I did.
“The thing is, I abhor boring admin, avoid government institutions and this stone-age card machine thing was too much for me. I asked him to please just try, just in case, maybe it has come back on while we have been talking. He tried my card and it worked with no problem whatsoever. A few minutes later he said he had forgotten to charge for one of the envelopes, so I made a second payment - again, no problems. I joked with him that it's my lucky day. I finished my posting, wished him a good afternoon and off I went to the pet store [sic].”
The Monday after her visit to Clareinch, Alice heard on the news that a young woman, Uyinene, was raped and murdered at the same post office she visited just a few days before. Completely horrified, she immediately stayed on the news and on social media to find out more. And when the name of the alleged killer and rapist was released, she was completely and utterly terrified.
“I checked my till receipt still on my desk and felt chills when I realised it was this same person who served me days before. So maybe the card machine had been offline, and it was a coincidence it suddenly worked (twice) when I tried, I don't know - in land of Load Shedding it is entirely possible. But also, maybe I could have done my errands and returned as advised, just before closing, and then maybe it would have been me locked in alone with him, pleading and screaming and fighting for life while nobody came. Who knows? But I thought it would be worth letting the police know my engagement with this man as anything to help Uyinene's case - any proof he had potentially planned this modus operandi before and that it wasn't a once off where he could claim lenience of sentencing for ‘insanity’ or ‘provocation’ or any other excuse to get off as easily. I thought they would want to know. Ha!”
After realising this, Alice went to the police station to tell her story. She says even though she met a lot of incompetent officers who kept turning her away, she was adamant about doing whatever she could to help Uyinene’s case.
“I returned to the police station this morning for a third time, past the post office with all the flowers laid out, ready to demand I leave a statement to help bring justice for this girl who could have been me. I spoke to a constable who phoned the detective and tried to persuade him that, as evidence of a modus operandi, perhaps he would like to take a statement from me? I could hear him moaning down the phone that it is his holiday (why would he want to work on this high-profile murder case when he is on holiday?). She explained to me ‘but the guy has already confessed, you see’. I understand that, but that does not mean the case is over. Then I had to wait a while for someone, anyone, capable of writing a statement to be located. Eventually I was taken to a cramped room with three women, the only ones who seemed to understand why it might be worth taking a statement and, finally, I gave my statement to the only person to care about taking it, to be used or discarded as the police see fit. I said something earlier about avoiding government buildings.
“Despite my feelings of despair and a renewed lack of confidence in the government and police to protect us, I really do hope that justice is brought for Uyinene. I hope that that awful, predatory monster gets the fate he deserves and rots in the South African prison system for the rest of his days. I hope that this will be the last of these cases needed to bring about the societal change required to stop this kind of violent crime from happening here in South Africa. Big sigh,” Alice concluded.
To prove her story, Alice posted a picture of the receipt she received at the post office, with Luyanda Botha’s name as the teller who served her.