A brave South African mother stabbed a man to death and seriously injured two others when she caught them gang raping her daughter.
The 56-year-old woman was dubbed ‘Lion Mama’ by locals for running three kilometres with a kitchen knife before stabbing all three attackers until they collapsed after being alerted to the attack, which took place in September.
She then comforted her daughter until police arrived.
She was however arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
The action of the police led to a huge public backlash and a campaign to fund her legal fees.
Two lawyers also offered their services for free to defend her.
Prosecutors however revealed on Monday that the charges against her had been dropped after ruling that there was no realistic chance of a successful prosecution.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced at Lady Frere Magistrates Court in Eastern Cape province that all charges against her were being officially dropped by the state.
NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali told local outlet, News24: “The docket was referred to the senior prosecutor and based on the evidence in the docket she declined to prosecute the case against the woman”
The two surviving assailants have also been charged with rape and will be in the same court on Wednesday.
Speaking about the horrific ordeal, the woman, who cannot be named because her daughter is the victim of a sexual crime, said she was told of the attack by an 18-year-old cousin of the rapist who was killed.
The distraught woman said she repeatedly called the police in her home village of Zwartwater in the Eastern Province but it just rang out with no officer picking up the telephone.
In desperation she picked up a kitchen knife and her friend led her to the property where she could hear her daughters cries and she burst in and found her daughter near naked.
The three men who were taking turns gang raping her were taken completely by surprise as the mother went into a blind rage stabbing all three men repeatedly until they collapsed.
A South African Police Service source said the blood soaked mother comforted her daughter until the police were contacted and arrived and paramedics came to treat her victims.
One man, Zamile Siyeka, was pronounced dead at the scene as his two accomplices, Xolisa Siyeka and Mncedisi Vuba, were rushed to hospital suffering from serious injuries.
The woman also praised the teenager that alerted her to the attack as a real hero, saying she is now in fear of her life after being blamed for the death of her relative and has attempted suicide.
Overwhelmed by the criticism and threats on her life, she drank paraffin and bleach.
She survived and is being treated at Frontier Hospital in Queenstown but is still living in constant fear.
The woman said: “All I wanted was to protect my daughter. When I answered the call from the teenager I did not want to believe my daughter was being raped and hoped it was a mistake.
“I could not believe it, because – even the one who has died, who was doing this to my daughter – I doubted that he could do something like this.
“I am really saddened by this. In fact, this is what is really killing me spiritually inside. That girl was trying to save my daughter’s life.
“It is really hurting that she has now been blamed to an extent that she tried to take her own life.
“I hope social workers find a safe place for her so that she can carry on with her studies. I just hope and pray that this is not the end of her dreams and aspirations.”
She said she has been humbled by the support she is getting from across the country.
She added: “It means there are a lot of people out there with good hearts who are on my side.
“I would have thrown myself to a lion to protect my daughter, and I am sure many mothers would have done the same.
“I truly appreciate all the support I have been getting. It has made me strong.”