In an echo of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus in December, the Cape Town-based Cape Argus newspaper said the victim was sliced open from her stomach to her genitals. She was dumped on a building site in the town of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town.
The Indian case triggered protests against endemic anti-female violence. But the Bredasdorp murder is unlikely to provoke a similar outpouring of anger in South Africa, where women's groups say rape has lost the power to shock.
"It is difficult to find reason behind the many different acts of gang rape, child rape, rape of the elderly, corrective rape and male rape," the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement.