Judge: Lock up rapist until he is too old

2011-11-10 00:00

CITIZENS have the right in terms of the Constitution to live in peace and safety, acting high court Judge Kobus Booyens said yesterday when he sentenced a 42-year-old repeat offender to life plus 20 years’ imprisonment for housebreaking, robbery and two rapes of a former KwaZulu-Natal dog breeder.

Booyens asked the prison authorities not to allow the rapist, Zamani Innocent Gumede, out on parole until he is too old to be a threat to society.

He ordered that a transcript of his judgment be sent to Correctional Services.

It emerged that Gumede had embarked on a “career of crime” from 1990.

He has five previous convictions for housebreaking and one for rape.

His victim, a 46-year-old woman whose identity may not be revealed, broke down and wept yesterday when testifying about her ordeal.

She told the court that the attackers killed her dog, which had been a companion.

The animal was struck during the incident and died of its injuries a few days later.

According to a victim impact statement presented to the court, the assailants used sticks with nails on the end to injure several dogs.

The court heard that the woman is receiving psychological counselling, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares, and is living in constant fear of another attack.

She has had to change her entire lifestyle and has given up dog breeding because she is afraid to live alone.

Her one arm and hand are partly disabled as a result of nerve damage caused when she the intruders beat her severely.

Out of fear of having contracted HIV, the woman said, she took anti-retroviral drugs for a few months, which made her nauseous.

The woman has tested negative for the virus.

Gumede pleaded guilty.

He said in a statement that he and an accomplice, a youth aged 17, broke into the woman’s farmhouse cottage in the early hours of January 5.

The youth was armed with a bush knife and a stick and Gumede carried a knife.

“There were several dogs at the complainant’s premises …”

The youth “hit some of them with the stick, thereby subduing them”, said Gumede.

He said they forced open the door and gained entry to the house.

They found the complainant asleep in her bedroom.

They threatened to assault her with their weapons and demanded money and valuables.

She resisted and they overpowered her, assaulting her with their hands and the stick, Gumede testified.

“To prevent her struggling further [the youth] and I tied her hands to the headboard of her bed and her feet to the foot of the bed.”

They both raped her and fled with the goods, including a wristwatch, camera, cellphone, keys and clothing.

The youth will stand trial separately for the offences.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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