PTA rape accused declines to testify
Pretoria - Alleged serial rapist Dudu Simelane declined to testify in his defence on Wednesday and fired his Legal Aid lawyer in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The 27-year-old was called to the stand after the State closed its case.
However, shortly after being sworn in, Simelane refused to testify and demanded copies of his docket and his advocate's notes, which he said he needed to prepare for his defence.
He then fired his advocate. This led to the rape trial being postponed to Monday for the appointment of a new legal representative by the Legal Aid Board.
If the board refuses his request, he will be forced to handle his own defence.
Last year Simelane pleaded not guilty to 25 charges ranging from rape to abduction, robbery and extortion.
The State alleges he duped seven women into believing he was able to give them a job between February and July 2010.
He arranged to meet them in Pretoria, but then took them to places near Soshanguve where he allegedly robbed and raped, or indecently assaulted them.
He then allegedly used their bank cards to withdraw money from their accounts, and in some cases extorted money from relatives while holding them captive.
More than 40 witnesses have testified for the State, including the seven women.
A shop assistant testified Simelane had laid a trap for her by claiming he could get her a job and even setting up a fake interview.
She testified he dragged her into bushes near Makapanstad where he threatened her with a broken beer bottle and raped her.
He forced her to phone her father to demand ransom money. She told the court she was held captive in a house where she was repeatedly raped, assaulted, and threatened with death.
She was tied up with wire so tightly she had no feeling in her hands for several months afterwards.
The woman identified Simelane as the rapist. She denied his claims that they had consensual sex and that it had been her idea to demand ransom money from her father.
Another woman testified that Simelane offered her a job, but then dragged her into bushes, threatened her with a knife and a brick and raped her.
He then took her to a half-built house where he raped her a second time.
When he left to withdraw money from her bank account, she fled and reported the attack to the police.
Another woman, who escaped being raped because she was menstruating, told the court Simelane forced her to bare her breasts and told her to scream while he cut them off.
He eventually let her go, but made her promise that her family would pay a ransom.