Cop vows to track down rapists after conviction

2009-03-10 00:00

A life sentence for rape and robbery has motivated an investigating officer to hunt down and arrest more suspects on the same case in Ladysmith.

A detective from the Ladysmith Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences SAPS office, Inspector Emmanuel Zulu, has vowed to look for other suspects who, with Delani Roney Mncube (27), robbed and raped a woman in front of her husband and a friend.

Mncube was last week sentenced to a life term imprisonment and 15 years each for three counts of robbery at the Ladysmith Regional Court. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Mncube and four other suspects gang raped the woman in March 2006. SAPS spokeswoman Captain Charmaine Struwig said the couple and their friend were standing alongside the road in C-Section Ezakheni when Mncube and his accomplices approached them and forced them to strip at gunpoint.

“While the five suspects took turns guarding the two men at gunpoint, the others took turns raping the woman. They then stole all their possessions, which included cellphones, before running away on foot.”

The two naked men and the woman then began a long hike to the Ezakheni police station — approximately five kilometres away. A passerby offered them a lift home, where they obtained clothes before reporting to the police station. The woman was rushed to hospital and cases of rape and robbery were opened.

Zulu followed leads in his investigation and arrested Mncube a few weeks after the incident. A few days later, the stolen cellphone of one of the victims was recovered. It had been sold to an Ezakheni resident by Mncube. Mncube refused to give police the identity of his accomplices and elected to face the trial on his own.

During the trial, Mncube pleaded not guilty.

However, when DNA tests revealed that he had been in contact with the woman, he changed his tune and claimed that the rape victim was his girlfriend.

“Mncube later told the court that the woman owed him [money] and was refusing to pay him. He said the woman was now acting in revenge by falsely accusing him of rape.

“He also accused one of the witnesses of having been involved in the murder of his brother and felt that they were testifying against him as part of a revenge plot,” said Struwig. All his claims were found to be invalid and the magistrate found him guilty on all charges.

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