A 20-year-old gay man in South Africa was allegedly gang-raped by five people on Sunday, who then left him in a burning house.

According to International Business Times, the victim was reportedly visiting friends at the time of the attack in the Lerato Park development area.

A neighbour, who spoke anonymously, told IOL News that she woke up on Sunday morning and saw flames coming from the house next door.

She said: “Members of the community came with buckets of water and as we approached the second floor of the house, where the flames were coming from, a young man came running down the stairs. He wanted to run away but we calmed him.

“He said that five men had raped him because he was a homosexual. They then tried to kill him by setting fire to a mattress on which he had been assaulted, apparently on which they raped him.

“He managed to escape. Fortunately, only his shoes got burned.”

She said that vacant homes on the development were popular locations for prostitution, gang-members and drug-users.

“These vacant houses are being damaged and are used as places to commit crime and use drugs.That is something we don’t want in Lerato Park,” she added.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Sergio Kock confirmed that members of the Galeshewe Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit were investigating a case of rape.

He added and police were also investigating arson in relation to the incident.

“No arrests have been made at this stage,” he said.

Only last week on Friday, it was found that another 21-year old South African gay man was tied up, beaten, set on fire and killed, while onlookers as young as 14 watched.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said that a 28-year-old has been arrested in connection with the killing.

Despite a complex gay rights record, South Africa became the first and so far only country in Africa to legalise marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2006.