A video clip showing a handcuffed man identified as the notorious Ekurhuleni serial rapist has gone viral on social media. Police warn, however, that sharing this video could land you in prison.
Report – Alleged Ekurhuleni serial rapist has been captured
In the clip, a woman only identified as Nomsa was heard accusing the man of being the suspect Ekurhuleni investigators have been looking for, for nine years.
The rage in the woman’s voice echoed the frustrations felt by many women in the Gauteng town who, for years, have lived in fear of the rapist.
However, was this man really the suspect police have been looking for? The composite sketch released in February sure does hold a striking resemblance to the person everyone saw in the viral clip.
But, according to police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, making such a bold supposition on social media and revealing the face of the suspect before authorities do, could be a high cost for victims of the alleged rapist to pay.
“Due to this reckless practice that achieves nothing other than sensationalism, the hard work of investigators gets nullified as this ultimately compromises procedures such as identification (ID) parades and subsequent court proceedings. This practice inevitably favours the suspect in that the case gets jeopardised and the suspects might never face a day in court, while the actual victim of crime is disadvantaged and deprived of finding justice,” Brig Peters wrote in a statement.
If you shared the clip on social media you can go to prison
Reports that spread on social media, on Wednesday, suggested that authorities had, after a violent chase, finally captured the wanted serial rapist.
He was reportedly shot as he tried to evade police and was sent to Barcelona clinic in Etwatwa for treatment, where he was reportedly under constant police surveillance.
Ekurhuleni police have yet to come forth with confirmation of the reports. However, the spread of this viral clip may have ruined the big moment for the precinct.
People who continue to share the viral clip on social media are warned that this is a contravention of Section 69 of the South African Police Services Act which states that “no person may, without the written permission of the National or Provincial Commissioner, publish a photograph or sketch of a person who is suspected of having committed an offence, pending a decision to institute criminal proceedings against him or her.'”
Those found to be in breach of the latter may be prosecuted and sentenced to a maximum term of one year in prison.
Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has pleaded with the public to allow SAPS to make the arrest official first, before sharing material that could jeopardise the entire nine-year investigation.
“We acknowledge that police have little control over the content posted by social media users on their private accounts. We do therefore appeal once more, for social media users to consider the victims of crime and the negative implications their posted content could have on the process of ensuring justice for the victims,” Lt-Gen Mawela said.
The alleged Ekurhuleni serial rapist has more than 50 active sexual assault cases and is believed to be the man who kidnapped Little Amahle near her home in Tsakane, in April 2019.