‘Maybe it would have been me’ – Uyinene’s ‘killer’ told other woman to ‘come back in a bit’
Alice Cropper says she realised she had been served by the accused, but had difficulties trying to report her experience at the Claremont police station.
People demonstrate outside The Cape Town International Convention Centre, where the World Economic Forum(WEF) Africa meeting is taking place, on September 4, 2019, in Cape Town, to protest against the abuse of women by men. – Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19 year-old university student of UCT, was raped and killed on August 24, 2019, this murder has caused a groundswell of anger and protest against violence against women. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)
A Cape Town woman claims that the man accused of raping and killing UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana at the Clareinch post office in Claremont, Cape Town, also assisted her at the post office, but turned her away and told her to come back later in the day.
Alice Cropper, from Hout Bay, took to Facebook this week to recount her story of how she had been at the post office to send off some letters for work in the afternoon, and walked up to the 42-year-old teller’s station.
She also detailed her story on CapeTalk on Thursday.
“As I started organising my post, he told me that the card machine is offline, but I should come back in a bit and it will probably be back on and he will help me. This was at 4:30pm and the post office was closing in half an hour,” she said in her Facebook post.
Cropper said she almost decided to come back, but then decided she would rather ask the accused teller to try the card machine again.
“He tried my card and it worked with no problem whatsoever. A few minutes later he said he had forgotten to charge for one of the envelopes, so I made a second payment – again, no problems. I joked with him that it’s my lucky day. I finished my posting, wished him a good afternoon and off I went to the pet store,” she said.
Cropper says she realised she had been served by the accused when she heard about the story and checked her receipt from the post office.
The nation reacted with shock this week when it emerged that Mrwetyana, a first-year film and media studies student, had been killed in the post office the same day she disappeared – Saturday, August 24.
News24 previously reported that a post office employee had confessed and now faces charges of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice.
Mrwetyana had gone to enquire about a parcel on the day of her disappearance. The electricity had been off and she was asked to return later, the court heard.
Lured inside by the lone employee who offered to assist her, the accused allegedly raped her. Mrwetyana fought back, and it is believed that she kicked him in the genitals.
The accused allegedly knocked her out. When she regained consciousness, a scale was allegedly used to bludgeon her as she screamed for help.
Her blood was allegedly found in the post office and in the employee’s car.
Wynberg Magistrate Goolam Bawa ruled that the accused could not yet be named.
Cropper said it was possible that the card machine being offline was a coincidence.
“So maybe the card machine had been offline and it was a coincidence it suddenly worked [twice] when I tried. I don’t know – in [a] land of load shedding, it is entirely possible,” she said on Facebook.
“But also, maybe I could have done my errands and returned as advised, just before closing. And then maybe it would have been me locked in alone with him, pleading and screaming and fighting for life while nobody came. Who knows?”
Cropper said she had approached the Claremont police station on Monday afternoon to inform them about her experience, in case it was relevant to their investigation, but was told the detectives had left and she should return the next day.
“I went home and found the cell number of the constable listed on a Pink Ladies flier (sic). I called and, when I got no answer, I sent a WhatsApp asking to talk about the case. It was read that evening but I heard nothing back.”
She tried the police station two more times, but said she was told the investigating officer was on holiday.
“Eventually I was taken to a cramped room with three women, the only ones who seemed to understand why it might be worth taking a statement and, finally, I gave my statement to the only person to care about taking it, to be used or discarded as the police see fit.”
Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said the management of Claremont police station had noted Cropper’s social media post.
“[She] was interviewed by the station commander during her visit to the station and a statement was obtained from her,” Traut said.
“On the basis of her social media post, an internal investigation has been launched on a provincial level into the circumstances of the matter.”
The accused is expected back in court next month.