A house that allegedly belongs to the man accused of raping and murdering 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana caught fire on Tuesday evening September 3, 2019.
Video footage has been widely circulated, showing community members dancing and singing by the house as it is razed by the flames. It is unclear as to whether there were any occupants in the house when it burned.
“At 19:25 this evening the City’s Fire & Rescue responded to a dwelling alight in Khayelitsha. Three firefighting appliances and a rescue vehicle with a total of 14 staff members were dispatched,” said the City of Cape Town’s spokesperson for Fire and Rescue Services, Jermaine Carelse. “Upon arrival, of the first appliance from Khayelitsha Fire the crew was confronted by an extremely volatile crowd. They feared for their lives and withdrew whilst the crowd banged on the vehicle.”
Police have confirmed that the fire took place, but have not released the identity of the homeowner. “The circumstances surrounding the incident are under police investigation and the suspects are yet to be arrested. Our members are deployed in the area to maintain law and order and to quell any form of violence.”
The incident occurred the day after the accused made his first court appearance. The 42-year-old post office worker was arrested last week and faces charges of rape, defeating the ends of justice and murder. He confessed to Mrwetyana’s murder in court on Monday, saying that he had bludgeoned her with a scale from the Post Office where he worked.
The court ordered that pictures of the accused and his name not be published.
Members of the community continue to bring flowers to the Clareinch Post Office where Mrwetyana was allegedly murdered. The 19-year-old had gone to check on a parcel on Saturday, August 24, and was told to return later as the electricity was out. She was murdered and sexually accosted by the accused upon her return.
Outside the Clareinch Post Office people continue to drop off flowers and light candles in remembrance of Mrwetyana. Women and men gathered outside the post office peacefully to pay their respects on Tuesday, September 3 and Wednesday, September 4. The post office is currently closed.