Let him rot in hell, say en­raged res­i­dents

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

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.

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