Mother accepts ‘inhlawulo’ blood money after brutal teen rape

Police have not arrested the alleged rapist after the girl’s family encouraged her mother to accept ‘inhlawulo’ (penalty) for the crime.


A KwaZulu-Natal mother has agreed to accept ‘inhlawulo’ or ‘blood money’ by way of payment in cattle after her teenaged daughter was raped.

Police have not arrested the perpetrator following the ‘blood money’ offer prompting action by KZN MEC for Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza and MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Sipho Hlomuka who will visit the family of the girl who was allegedly raped in Emmaus in the KwaKhwela near Bergville. 

Hlomuka and Khoza’s departments said in a statement that the aim of the visit on Thursday was to obtain details regarding progress on the investigation after the police reportedly failed to arrest the alleged perpetrator.  It is alleged that the teenaged victim was threatened with a knife and assaulted, resulting in her teeth being knocked and damaged before she was raped last month. 

The departments said in a joint statement on Wednesday  that reports had further revealed that the family of the victim had persuaded the victim’s mother to accept payment of cattle as a gesture to pay for damages after her daughter’s ordeal. 

“This conduct is abhorrent, unacceptable and falls far short of ubuntu. As the caring government, we are not going to sit on our laurels while our children suffer abuse in the communities. Such incidents can never be swept under the carpet, with some people thinking that they will pay inhlawulo (penalty) after rape,” Khoza said. 

She stated that a team of social workers had already been assigned to the family of the victim. She said she intends to obtain more detail on how the police have failed to arrest the alleged perpetrator after they were pointed to his hiding place. 

“As the provincial government, we want to assess the functionality of the police station and investigate the allegations that have been made by communities on the lack of investigations and arrest when such cases are reported to this police station. We will convene an urgent meeting with the police station’s management and the victim’s family,” said MEC Hlomuka. 

As part of this visit, the two MEC’s will engage with the local traditional council and other stakeholders in an effort to ensure that such incidents are dealt with in a manner that is appropriate and that all stakeholders play their part in the protection of the rights of women and children as the country celebrates Women’s Month.

“This government cannot fail the most vulnerable members of society who rely on us. We want to ensure that all involved in the cases of abuse and rapes are arrested,” added Khoza.