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Bo-Kaap residents divided on protest calling for rape accused to go

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There were mixed reactions from divided Bo-Kaap residents following a march by EFF supporters who issued an ultimatum to a pair of brothers accused of sexually abusing a relative, to move out of the area.

On Saturday, around 50 EFF members joined a small group of residents calling themselves Bo-Kaap Youth, who marched to the houses of twin brothers Goosain and Gasant Emeran, 85, to support the young woman who publicly accused the pair of sexual assault and rape.

A video shared on YouTube this week went viral, in which a young woman, who identified herself as a granddaughter of one of the two, claimed she had been raped from age 5 and knew of other young and older women who had allegedly been victims of the pair.

The Muslim Judicial Council has suspended Goosain as a member of its education board, until further notice following the allegations.

On Saturday afternoon, protesters trying to gain entrance to the house said to belong to one of the brothers, threw rubbish at the gate and attempted to kick in the door when occupants wouldn’t come out to sign a copy of their memorandum.

An altercation with a neighbour, who allegedly tried to set his dog on protesters, saw rocks thrown and a scuffle ensue as metro police officers attempted to calm tempers.

“As the community of Bo-Kaap, we demand that the two brothers leave the community of Bo-Kaap immediately, as their alleged actions have violated the spirit of this community,” read the group’s memorandum.

“We believe the testimony of the granddaughter who came out and told her personal story. We hope her courage will inspire other victims and survivors to come out and tell their own stories too for paedophiles, rapists, molesters and abusers can no longer be concealed because of fear of public shame.”

But not everyone in the community agreed with yesterday’s demonstration, with others labelling it opportunistic and accused protesters of hijacking legitimate concerns.

Chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Rate Payers’ Association Osman Shaboodien, said they did not take part in the march.

“We made our point with our protests and want to give other victims the opportunity to come forward with their stories without all of this to further scare them away. This is nothing but mischief.”

Other residents voiced their displeasure. “Who are they to come here and say residents of this community must leave? People must not come here for politics and to shine using family matters that have to be left to the police to resolve and as I know, no one has opened a case,” said one of the residents.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, confirmed no criminal case had been registered with SAPS at this stage.

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