Two girls who were abducted and raped in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, were rescued on Thursday morning after a large scale search saw officers combing the area by air and on the ground.
The man who allegedly preyed on them was also nabbed, said Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge.
Residents were so angry that they destroyed his shack shortly after he was arrested.
The girls, aged 5 and 6, were last seen playing in a field in the Chris Hani area on Wednesday.
When they did not return by 18:00, their parents reported them missing.
Officers immediately began looking for the girls at friends and family in the area.
Beetge said they scaled up the search at 23:00, with more officers and the dog unit joining.
A police helicopter flew over the area with a search light, while foot patrols went from house to house.
The older girl was found behind the Chevrolet Stadium just after 00:00.
"The girl was found severely assaulted, with stab wounds on her head and body, and was rushed to Dora Nginza Hospital."
She managed to give the officers some information, which led them to a shack in Chris Hani around 04:45.
They found the younger girl with a 49-year-old man.
Medical examinations found that both girls had been raped, said Beetge.
The man was arrested for abduction, attempted murder, and rape.
He will appear in the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, September 26.
Motherwell cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie thanked the police officers for working around the clock.
"Both girls were found and rescued from a very grim fate. SAPS will leave no stone unturned in this case and will make sure that this case receives priority and expert attention," he said.
Police urged the community to let the law take its course.