South Africans are preparing for the Women’s Day holiday on Friday but it will not be a day of celebration for the family of Janetta Lorraine van der Walt. The 60 year-old woman was raped and murdered in a horrific manner in front of her sister.
On Tuesday night in Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, Janetta Lorraine van der Walt was watching television with her sister Koekie Stander, 69, when she was distracted by the sound of her barking dogs. According to media reports, van der Walt went outside to see what was causing the commotion. Her nightmare began the minute she opened the door and stepped out.
A man pulled her away from the door, into the yard and started raping her. Even as van der Walt called out for her sister, the man continued his sexual assault on her. Koekie Stander responded to her sister’s calls for help. Nothing could have prepared her for the sight outside the house.
When Stander saw the man grabbing and pulling at her sister and raping her, she ran towards them. The man took off. Stander noticed that her sister had been stabbed and helped her sit up. Thinking their ordeal had ended, the sisters tried to call for help. The nightmare was far from over. The man returned with a vengeance.
A terrified Stander tried to pull her sister back inside the house but the man was determined to have his way with the injured and bleeding van der Walt. What happened next has left the country bewildered. A deadly tug of war ensued. The man grabbed van der Walt by the legs and pulled while Stander desperately tried to tighten her grip on her sister’s arms. Van der Walt was pulled in two different directions. The man was stronger.
Distraught and overcome by fear, Stander rushed back inside the house and tried to call for help. Her fear worsened when she realized that she had dropped the phone outside the house during the scuffle. Meanwhile, the man raped the screaming van der Walt in her own yard. As he was raping her, he also strangled and stabbed her. Koekie Stander was helpless inside the house while a man raped and killed her sister a few meters away. The man left and this time, he did not return.
After what felt like an eternity, help arrived. The nephew of the elderly women arrived after the police. His anger was evident when he described the grisly scene that greeted him at the home of his two aunts. He seethed: “What kind of human being does this to two old women? And all he left with was a cellphone. What is this world coming to?”
Captain Gerald Mfeka, spokesperson for the police, confirmed that the SAPS in Margate have opened a rape and murder docket. He had a warning for the public if they hear suspicious sounds coming from outside the home. “Please contact the police or press your panic button. Do not go outside.”