Woman offered lift to ‘rapists’

2009-09-17 00:00

A 25-YEAR-OLD man of Donnybrook and two youths pleaded not guilty yesterday in the high court in Pietemaritzburg to charges arising from the hijacking and rape of a KwaZulu-Natal school teacher in the Richmond area on March 13.

The state alleges in its indictment that the victim was raped on two occasions by Zwelithini Sibiya in the course of her ordeal.

The two youths are charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances relating to the alleged hijacking of the victim’s Toyota Corolla motor car.

Sibiya faces a further seven charges of unlawfully pointing a firearm, two of attempted murder, unlawful discharge of a firearm, kidnapping, two counts of rape and unlawful possession of a .38 special Astra revolver.

In a statement read in court to Judge Achmat Jappie and two assessors, Sibiya claims that he and his co-accused were on foot on the road between Richmond and Donnybrook seeking a lift when they flagged down a white Toyota Corolla driven by a person he identified as Ngiyabonga Sithole.

Shortly thereafter a double-cab bakkie approached and Sithole fled the scene into the bush, followed by the two youths.

Sibiya said two men, dressed in SA Police Service T-shirts whom he assumed were police, alighted and began questioning him and also searched him.

He alleges that the men searched the Corolla and found bank cards and a revolver in the vehicle.

He said he informed them of the identity of the driver and his co-accused, who had run away, but the police assaulted him by punching and kicking him.

They told him the driver was a woman and accused him of robbing her, he said. Sibiya said he denied the allegation. During the assault he was almost suffocated with a glove, which was pulled over his head.

Sibiya said he was taken to a place where the police said the robbery had occurred and while there they heard a woman cry for help. A woman he recognised as a teacher from his area was subsequently found.

The state alleges in its indictment that on the day in question the accused had conspired together to rob the teacher — whom they knew — of her vehicle.

They planned to do so by posing as hitch-hikers.

The teacher had stopped and given them a lift. Not long after driving off, one of the youths grabbed her by the throat and threatened to shoot her.

She stopped the vehicle and was put into the back seat. The other youth quickly tried to start the car.

At that moment a motorist, Albert Knott, arrived and stopped because he realised that something was wrong.

However, after a shot was fired in his direction, he left to seek help. At that stage the two youths allegedly fled the scene.

Sibiya allegedly forced the victim to drive on. She continued until a tyre punctured. Then he allegedly instructed the teacher to hand over money, credit cards and her identity document, forced her to accompany him to a spot at gunpoint and raped her after assaulting her and shooting her in the upper arm when she resisted.

Sibiya allegedly tied the woman’s hands with a belt, and tied her petticoat around her mouth, and then left.

A short while later he came back, untied the belt and led her to a forest where he raped her for a second time.

Afterwards he tied her to a tree with the belt and left her in the forest. She was found there by police who freed her.

The case is proceeding.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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