Let him rot in hell, say enraged residents
RESIDENTS of Nomzamo in Strand are baying for the blood of the man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering five-year-old Minentle Lekhatha.
Xolani Lantu, 35, is believed to be Minentle’s grandmother’s jilted younger lover.
“She dumped him and he got angry; that is why on the day of the discovery she could not speak, saying he should have hurt her instead of the child,” a neighbour who wished to remain anonymous said.
The grandmother, Thema Bomela, would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.
On Thursday, Lantu appeared briefly in the Strand Magistrate’s Court.
The case was postponed to August 3.
As he entered the courtroom, Bomela screamed and then fainted, while other family members wailed. She was taken away in an ambulance while the court case got under way.
Outside the court, a crowd of around 200 community members sang and held placards emblazoned with “Justice for Minentle”.
They said they wanted to see Lantu “rot in jail”, and handed over a petition to the clerk of the court stating that the accused should “get a very harsh sentence”.
Community leader Xolani Diniso said: “The court should not prolong this matter but should rush to sentence him.”
Diniso also said Lantu had confessed to the rape and murder, but officials were unable to confirm this at the time of going to print.
NPA provincial spokesman Eric Ntabazalila confirmed Lantu’s charges. “He is not applying for bail. The case has been postponed for further investigation. He is represented by Legal Aid,” he said.
Police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Andrè Traut said the “circumstances surrounding the case are yet to be finalised and the finer aspects of the suspect’s apprehension cannot be disclosed at this stage”.
Meanwhile, residents of Tembeni informal settlement where Lantu lived have described the accused as “very angry and violent”.
“We can’t live with him here. He is always loud and angry, you could say he is a bully,” said neighbour Lerato Haas.
Minentle’s body was found under a bridge less than 24 hours after she disappeared from her home last Saturday afternoon.