South African girl in court for 'killing would-be rapist'

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

A 17-year-old girl, who handed herself in to South African police, is expected to appear in court, accused of killing a man who allegedly tried to rape her.

"She was on her way to a local tavern when she was allegedly attacked by the deceased and fought back," police colonel Moatshe Ngoepe told the BBC.


The young woman stabbed the 21-year-old man, after overpowering him during a struggle, police say.
South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.


The suspect, who is a minor under South African law and cannot be named, would be assigned a social worker and possibly a trauma counsellor to assist with the case, according to the police.


"She was visibly distraught when she arrived at the police station and will receive the necessary care given in such cases," said Mr Ngoepe.


The woman will appear in court in Tzaneen, a small town in Limpopo province near the village where the incident took place.


She is expected to tell the court that she acted in self-defence.


The BBC's Pumza Fihlani says such pleas must pass a high legal threshold to be accepted, with the defendant having to prove that there were extenuating circumstances involved and that killing was the only option available at the time.


South Africa's laws on self-defence have faced criticism in the past, with some legal analysts saying the law should offer more support to those forced to fight off attacks in a society with a high crime rate.


But some legal scholars have argued it is precisely because of this high crime rate that people should not be able to kill others with impunity and self-defence pleas should face high hurdles.


BBC