The meticulous investigation conducted by Detective / Sergeant Michelle Pillay of SAPS Chatsworth Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit of eThekwini Inner South Cluster, has ensured that a serial rapist was removed from society and placed in a correctional facility.

On 20 September, the trial of Robert Mdedane (44), ended at the Durban Regional Court after two years of intensive investigations. It was reported that in terms of Section 286(b) of Act 51 of 1977, the judge declared the accused as a dangerous criminal who is sentenced to undergo an indefinite period of sentence.

The judge further ordered that the accused be brought before court in 2033 for consideration of his sentence. During 2017, Mdedane lured women from the community on the pretext of offering them employment. Two of the victims opened cases of rape at SAPS Chatsworth. Pillay, a highly skilled detective, sought assistance from an informer who posed as a woman requiring assistance. The informer contacted the investigating officer resulting in the arrest of the accused on 10 February. An identity parade was conducted where the accused was pointed out by the complainants. The victims identified the accused through a tattoo on his arm which proved pivotal during court proceedings.

The Acting Cluster Commander of eThekwini Inner South, Major General Mandelenkoi Chirwa, enthusiastically acknowledged Pillay, who displayed commitment, courage, integrity and honour in performing her duties. Women and children around the country are in danger of abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence either in their homes, in school or in the community. Chirwa embraces this opportunity to mobilise members of society, especially men to join hands with government against child and women abuse. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign will take place from 25 November to 10 December. This year the campaign will be held under the theme: “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”.

Police aim to create awareness by educating the community thereby ensuring a safer environment for women and children. SAPS encourages victims to break their silence and report incidents at any police stain. The Domestic Violence Act, The Criminal Law Ammendment Act and the Protection from Harassment Act offer protection for women and children. The Childrens Act, 2005 Childrens Ammendment 2007 were enacted to, amongst others, protect a child from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. We can and must do more to prevent violence against women, support survivors of abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.