4 March 2008, 07:15
By Kamini Padayachee
Hillcrest residents, in KwaZulu-Natal, are reeling in shock after a woman was gang-raped while her father was held at gunpoint at a dam in the area on Sunday.
Police Superintendent Danelia Veldhuizen said the woman, who is 21, and her father were at a small dam near the polo fields about 1pm. They were walking their dogs when they were approached by seven men.
"Two of the men held the father at gunpoint and the other five took the woman into nearby sugar cane fields and raped her. The men then took the man's vehicle and some jewellery."
The police followed a lead and recovered the man's vehicle on Monday about 1km from where the incident had happened.
Anthony Cox, a family friend, said the man and his daughter were traumatised.
"Physically the man and his daughter are fine, but they have been emotionally damaged. They are both recovering at home and will be going for counselling.
"The entire family is reeling in shock and want to make people aware that this is happening."
Cox said the two had gone to a popular fishing spot near the polo club when the incident happened.
"They went there to fish and walk their dogs. They saw a group of men also fishing and greeted them.
The next thing they knew they were attacked by men armed with guns and knives. They forced them into a ditch. They then held the father at gunpoint and tied him to a tree. The men then raped the girl."
Cox said the police dog unit and special task force officers chased after the men who were travelling in the stolen vehicle.
"The men saw the police, crashed into a tree and fled into a ravine.
"The dogs and helicopters were dispatched to the area and searched for the men for several hours, but they could not be found."
Hillcrest Community Intelligence Centre director Brian Jones said the community was outraged.
"We are extremely shocked and our sympathy goes out to the family. We have to deal with it and address this issue with Hillcrest residents at our meetings. We hope there will be arrests soon."
Cox said this was the third hijacking in the area in the past week.
"Last Thursday a couple were hijacked and robbed. I drove into their driveway on Monday, and they came out in a panic because they thought I was a hijacker. There was also another hijacking reported in the same area last week."
The family of the rape victim has also hired a private investigator to find the rapists.
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on March 04, 2008