A father accused of castrating and killing a lay preacher he believed had raped his nine-year-old daughter was denied bail in a packed East London magistrate’s courtroom on Wednesday.
The man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter, cut a lonely figure in the dock as investigating officer Constable Lundi Nqwelo gave evidence for the state, which was arguing against the father’s bail application.
Nqwelo said the man, a truck driver for a local company that transports soft drinks, was told by his ex-wife that their daughter had been raped by Mase Malgas, 66, a lay preacher at the St Philips Church in Gompo on September 30.
“The accused then wanted to be shown where the man lived. He was driven there by a friend with his co-accused and his ex-wife, to the deceased’s house. The car left him and his co-accused there and the driver carried on with the ex-wife to the police station. He went inside and assaulted the man and while he was doing that he started to have thoughts of removing his private parts but while he was busy cutting him, he stopped.”
The father then apparently took the grievously wounded and half-naked man to the Scenery Park police station and continued to assault him outside the premises.
“Two police officers at the station said the accused slapped the deceased while police tried to help.”
The court heard that the two officers left the scene to wash their hands of the wounded man’s blood. “He was already injured when he came to the station and the police feared for their own safety so they went to wash their hands.”
However, Nqwelo said, by the time police returned, the father and the friend had left. “The police called an ambulance to fetch the man and he died in hospital.”
State prosecutor Cynthia Mulindi asked Nqwelo if he had seen the body of the deceased, to which he replied he went to the mortuary and observed that the deceased had multiple wounds on his private parts.
“I saw wounds on his private parts which are different from the stab wounds and bruises on his head.”
The court heard how the situation sparked a conflict and divided the community.
Nqwelo said Scenery Park community members, siding with the deceased lay preacher, had torched the house of the ex-wife’s mother, where the little rape victim had lived with her twin, granny and mother.
The children have since been taken to a place of safety.
After the torching, the man called his father in Qumbu and went to stay there for nine days, Nqwelo said.
“He did not tell his employer where he was and did not switch on his phone because the work phone has a tracker and he knew we were looking for him.”
However, he finally handed himself over at the Cambridge police station on October 9.
Nqwelo said the child’s rape was medically confirmed, but they were still waiting for DNA results.
East London bail magistrate Joel Caesar said the court considered a number of facts before deciding on a bail application.
“The state is of the view that this was premeditated murder. When he went to the deceased’s house he had already decided that he wanted to inflict the same pain his daughter went through.”
He said the court understood that the case was peculiar as the accused had heard that his daughter had been raped.
“The court has empathy and compassion that his daughter had been raped but we cannot have empathy that you took the law into your own hands, now leaving your daughter without a father because you are incarcerated.
“The relationship of the accused and the state witnesses [the ex-wife and a passer-by at the house of the lay preacher] is of a very sensitive matter. The court will not grant bail for your own safety until finalisation of the matter. Your release will fuel fire in the community.”
Church leader Mxolisi Zweni said the deceased was a person who contributed to the wellbeing of residents.
“We dispute that he raped the little girl until it is proved,” he said.
– Dispatch live