They ruined our lives

By Drum Digital
21 September 2010

IT WAS a five-month orgy of rape and robbery on an almost unbelievable scale. Two men driving a taxi lured unsuspecting young victims into the depths of the minibus, then trapped and assaulted them while hurling abuse at them. Before their reign of terror ended no fewer than 50 women had been raped – and now they are left having to pick up the pieces.

In a darkened shack Martha Mbele* sits reading the Mother’s Day card her daughter madeher shortly after the ordeal that changed her life forever. The little girl tells her mother how much she loves her and how much she means to her.The tender note has become a treasured possession. It reminds Martha that there are people who need her to be strong, and knowing that her nine-year-old daughter and the rest of her family depend on her helps her shut out the memories that threaten to overwhelm her.

Knowing the two men who allegedly raped her will appear before a Johannesburg High Court judge on 11 October is some comfort. The men, taxi driver Boitumelo Galubetse (33) and his best friend, Bongane Madlala (34), were finally caught by the alert nose of a canine detective and his sharp-eyed handlers. Now the men face a barrage of charges including kidnapping, assault, aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, rape and indecent assault.

Wendy Mbisi (Names have been changed), the 31-year-old mother of a nine-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, hopes the men will be put behind bars for life. “I know they aren’t out there any more, I know they’re in custody,” she tells us haltingly. “But I still fear for my safety. They’ve robbed me of the ability to feel safe and secure. As soon as it gets dark I rush home.”

Wendy, who hails from Zone 10, Sebokeng, was on her way home on 2 May 2008 when she was forced into a taxi by two men, both wielding guns and knives. They drove to a deserted piece of veld where they took turns raping her. They then robbed her of all her possessions, abandoned her and drove off.

Thembi Motaung* of Evaton West, south of Joburg, is a budding fashion designer and had just collected money from clients on9March 2008. It was a late summer evening and the mom of two was on her way to her parents’ place for dinner.

“Five minutes away from their house a taxi stopped near me,” she recalls. “Two isiZuluspeaking men asked for directions and while I attempted to help them one persuaded me to get into the taxi and show them where to go. Reluctantly I agreed – and that was the start of my nightmare.”

For the full article read DRUM of 30 September 2010

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