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Gqeberha 1 August 2021: The Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga has welcomed the arrest of a 24 year old murder and rape suspect almost two years later. The suspect is implicated in the murder and rape of Chantelle Makwena, 5 years old at the time, at their home in Withoogte in Rocklands.

It is alleged that on 2 August 2019 at about 19:00, Veronica Makwena (23) and her sister (34) left their children at their home in Withoogte in Rocklands with the alleged suspect, his girlfriend and the girlfriend’s brother and went to visit a friend in the same vicinity. When the two women returned at 22:00, the same night, they found the front door opened and neither of the adults were there. Chantelle Makwena was not in her bed and Veronica Makwena went to the neighbour’s house to see if she was there. She was not there as well. The mother thought that perhaps Chantelle may have gone to her father’s house which is on another farm and decided to go and look for her there in the morning.

On Saturday, 3 August 2019,Ms Makwena went in search for the child and found that she was neither at her grandmother’s or father’s place. An intensive search began for the missing child. At about 14:55, the father, Justin Manele (29) found the badly battered and bruised body of Chantelle in a toilet near the house in Withoogte. She was half naked and sustained serious head and facial injuries.

On the same day, the community caught the alleged suspect and assaulted him. Police attended to a complaint of mob justice and managed to take the suspect away for his own safety. At the time, he was not charged for the murder and rape however DNA was taken and sent to the Forensic laboratory for analysis.

On Saturday, 31 July 2021, the investigating officer, D/Sgt Chantell Joubert received the forensic report linking the suspect to the murder and rape of the child. He was immediately arrested at Blozo location in Rocklands.

The suspect will appear in the Gqeberha magistrate’s court on Monday, 2 August 2021 for murder and rape as well as for another rape case which occurred in November 2018. The suspect was released for the latter rape on bail and after some court appearances, he failed to appear in court. A warrant for his arrest was issued however he evaded police arrest several times.

Lt Gen Ntshinga commented ‘that sexual violence meted against our women and children is simply intolerable and such acts cannot be ignored. Far too often, this vulnerable group are being murdered by those they love and trust. This child’s life and future had ended in such a brutal way and we will be working very closely with the NPA to make sure that this suspect is not released on bail again until the finalisation of both cases. As we enter Women’s month in August, I urge every South African to be part of a generation that would put an end to gender inequality.’’