Spike in rapes on Christmas Day in Mthatha - police

Eastern Cape police say they are alarmed by the "spike of rape" incidents on public holidays.

This comes after the Mthatha Cluster registered at least 10 cases of rape on Christmas Day. Nine suspects who were arrested have already made their first appearance in various courts.

Police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said one suspect had allegedly raped an 89-year-old woman.

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"The suspect left some clothing items on the crime scene that were later positively identified by his wife as property of her spouse. [The suspect] shot himself before police could arrest him," said Tonjeni.

Tonjeni said, in another case, three teenagers - aged between 16 and 19 - were arrested in Mthatha's Manyoni township for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl.

They appeared in the Mthatha Magistrate's Court on December 27.

Provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga issued a warning to citizens to be on guard for criminals and rapists.

"Most of the rape cases happen near tavern[s] and victims are usually inebriated. We call upon all police on duty to stamp their authority in closing illegal liquor outlets and enforcing compliance to stipulated times of business for those legal operators," said the province's top cop.