‘Victim’s drink was spiked’

2009-05-27 00:00

AN Estcourt man is on trial in the high court in Pietermaritzburg in connection with a series of attacks and rapes of four women in Pietermaritzburg in January and February last year.

He allegedly raped one of the women at Hlalanathi Lodge in Berg Street while she was unconscious after having drunk a “spiked” drink.

In two other incidents, the state alleges, the rapist invited other unknown men on the scene to rape the victims, which they did.

On trial for 11 counts of rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping is 27-year-old Mlungisi Mluleki Msimanga of Ntabamhlophe near Estcourt.

Msimanga pleaded not guilty before Acting Judge Ben van Heerden and two assessors to all the charges yesterday. He claims in connection with three of the rape charges that the women had sex with him by consent. He also alleges that one of them voluntarily gave him her bank card.

State advocate Suhana Singh said the prosecution will lead evidence to prove that Msimanga raped the victims. She said Msimanga was pointed out at identity parades by all the victims and his DNA has been linked to some of the rapes.

A smartly dressed 30-year-old woman, who works for a clothing store in the Durban area, yesterday described her ordeal after she found herself stranded in Pietermaritzburg at about 7 pm on January 4 last year, unable to find a taxi to take her to New Hanover.

She accepted a lift from two men — one of whom she later identified at an identity parade as the accused. The other man left at the Selgro Centre and she continued alone with Msimanga, she said.

The woman described how, on a pretext of fetching another car, Msimanga persuaded her to accompany him along a footpath in a dark area near the Liberty Midlands Mall.

She said she became scared and stopped to ask him where they were going. He told her; “Hey, you prostitute, get undressed!”

She said she saw a piece of cardboard at the side of the path, but did not know who had put it there.

When she refused to get undressed, he called her “chicken” and began shouting for another person. Another man whom she did not know appeared from the forest.

“He then said to this man, ‘You should stab this prostitute’ and he struck me [across the face] with an open hand.”

The woman said she obeyed his order to remove items of her clothing and the accused raped her. When he finished he got up and then said to the other man that he too should rape her, which he did.

She said while she was being raped by the second man, the accused opened her handbag and removed her cellphone and R500 cash. She called out to him to give back her licence and credit cards and he threw them at her.

She said he left the scene while his companion was still lying on top of her, and she started to “struggle and fight”. Her assailant told her she was “cheeky”, hit her and stood up and trampled on her left eye.

The woman testified that when she retaliated by hitting the man back, he grabbed her and bit her all over her left arm as well as on her back. “I still have the bite marks,” she said, showing the court her arm. She said the rapist also threatened to kill her, but suddenly he left.

She got dressed and shortly afterwards met up with a woman who helped her and called the police.

The woman denied under cross- examination by advocate J. Jordaan that she willingly had sex with him.

The case is proceeding.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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