Zululand Observer - Weekender - - FRONT PAGE - Erica Abra­hams

THE age-old warn­ing of ‘don’t talk to strangers’ has never been more rel­e­vant af­ter four hitch-hik­ing women were raped within a week in Em­pan­geni.

This af­ter Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele last month pin-pointed Em­pan­geni among the top 10 KZN hot spots for gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

Last Mon­day, a 20-year-old Ng­welezana woman re­ported that while wait­ing for a taxi, the driver of a VW Polo stopped and of­fered her a lift home.

She be­gan to panic when the driver, who was un­known to her, passed her house and said he was go­ing to his flat.

Ac­cord­ing to the vic­tim, she was forced into the man’s flat in Em­pan­geni where she was raped.

Just a few hours later, a 31-year-old woman laid rape charges against a for­mer school­mate.

The woman told the po­lice she was in Em­pan­geni CBD, seek­ing a lift as she did not have money to get back home.

She was then ap­proached by her for­mer school­mate who of­fered her a lift. Shortly af­ter get­ting into the car, the man pro­ceeded to force him­self onto her.

She said that when she fought back, the man as­saulted her un­til she agreed to have in­ter­course with him. He then dropped her off at the taxi rank.

On Satur­day, a young woman said she was forced into a bush area out­side Felix­ton by five men.

Four young women raped af­ter ac­cept­ing lifts from strangers

The woman told po­lice she was walk­ing home when the men ac­costed her and threat­ened her with a knife.

They forced her to go into the bush and de­manded that she re­move her clothes. She was then raped by one of the men.

Also on Satur­day, an­other un­sus­pect­ing 25-year-old woman was raped in Ng­welezana.

Ac­cord­ing to her, she was wait­ing for a taxi when it be­gan to rain heav­ily.

A man, who was un­known to her, in­vited her to wait in­side his house un­til the weather cleared. Shortly af­ter en­ter­ing the house, the woman was raped.

King Cetshwayo SAPS spokesper­son Cap­tain Mbon­geni Md­lalose said peo­ple needed to ex­er­cise more cau­tion.

‘We are urg­ing peo­ple not to ac­cept lifts from strangers and not to trust peo­ple blindly.

‘We are liv­ing in a dan­ger­ous so­ci­ety and al­though the po­lice are do­ing their best to en­sure peace and safety, we are still see­ing a spike in vi­o­lent crimes.’

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