The attempted abduction of a 19-year-old woman to force her into marriage has led to the arrest of her mother and sister as well as the would-be husband.
She escaped from his clutches once, only to be returned to him by her family, police said.
The trio's arrest came after she managed to alert a friend.
Eastern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga praised her team for the arrests on Tuesday, in Dutywa and Mvezo.
Col Sibongile Soci said in a statement that the 19-year-old woman had received a phone call advising her to meet her mother, 54, in Dutywa town on Friday, July 31.
“While the 19-year-old was waiting for her mother, a car approached and stopped next to her and she was offered a lift by the occupants of the car. They drove to Mvezo village, [near Mthatha] to a home of the would-be husband.
“She was locked inside a house in the homestead but managed to escape on Saturday, August 1 and went back home.
“On Thursday, August 6, her brother, age unknown, her 22-year-old sister and her 54-year-old mother took her back to Mvezo village. They informed her that she was getting married.
“She was locked again inside the house but managed to communicate with her friend telephonically and informed the friend that she was being forced to marry. The friend immediately informed the Dutywa police.”
The mother, sister and 28-year-old would-be husband appeared before the Dutywa magistrate’s court on Wednesday on charges of abduction. They have been remanded in custody until Friday for a bail application.
The provincial commissioner condemned the act of abduction and marriage negotiations for young girls.
“The older people who enter into these negotiations destroy the future of the young girls they are supposed to be looking after and we condemn this practice with the strongest contempt it deserves,” said Ntshinga.
Two months ago, TimesLIVE reported on the stiff sentences handed down in another case of forced marriage from an Eastern Cape village, involving a 14-year-old girl sold into a life of rape and abuse as a child bride in Cape Town under the pretext of ukuthwala.
The 36-year-old groom was sentenced to 25 years in jail for human trafficking, 25 years for rape, three years for kidnapping, and another two for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Her aunt was sentenced to 12 years' direct imprisonment for human trafficking.
Her mother received a 10-year sentence for human trafficking and kidnapping.