Rapists smile during testimony

2009-09-01 22:18

Johannesburg - Some of the men found guilty of gang-raping a Tembisa woman smiled as the victim's sister wept in the witness stand of the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect her sister's identity, described the difficulties the family had faced since the 2005 crime.

She said it had traumatised the whole family, including the victim's 10-year-old daughter.

"My niece's schoolwork has deteriorated. She no longer listens... it's like there's something wrong with her mind and I'm the one who has to help her through it because her mother is forever angry," the woman told the court during pre-sentencing procedures of the seven rapists.

As the woman wiped her tears during her testimony, two of the seven men convicted in June for her sister's rape looked at each other and smiled, the only emotion evident on their faces during Tuesday's proceedings.

Otherwise they appeared relaxed and talked during intervals.

Trauma of incident

The woman said comments made by her niece made her realise that she had heard from local residents that her mother had been raped.

"There was a time she came back from school and she asked me if I knew that raped people had Aids.

"The other time she was playing with stones near the kitchen door... talking to herself saying that she and her father had gone looking for her mother's rapists... her father armed with a gun while she had a knife," the woman said.

She said the rape had also left her traumatised, because she was the one who had had to take care of the victim, whose health and emotional well-being deteriorated following the crime.

Suicidal

Before the woman took the stand, a psychologist, Shaheeda Omar,  who assessed the victim said the woman, called Buyisiwe by gender rights activists to protect her identity, was still traumatised by the incident four years later.

"She has given up. She's emotionally fragile, so if given the opportunity she would take her life," said Omar.

"Although she has been prescribed tranquillisers, her anxiety levels remain high and she tends to drink herself into a stupor. She has also attempted suicide as she has no hope for the future," Omar read from her 2007 assessment report.

Not much had changed when she assessed her again in May. The situation was exacerbated by the death of Buyisiwe's grandfather earlier this year, to whom she had been close.

"Her situation hasn't improved since the first assessment... her situation has deteriorated. She doesn't show any signs of coping," she said, adding that Buyisiwe continued to receive counselling.

She suffered from incontinence, as her bladder was damaged during the rape.

"A loss of bladder control has immobilised her in more ways and she's scared of meeting others as she constantly has a... smell of urine.

No remorse

Earlier on Tuesday, two probation officers called for harsher sentences for two of the accused, Oupa Mohlala, 22, and Mojalefa Seleka.

Prudence Chili said Mohlala had not shown remorse and a lenient sentence would not do much to change his attitude.

"A suspended sentence is not suitable, because it will not better the accused. The offence is serious ... they violated the complainant's dignity, reputation and privacy.

"Society is looking forward to seeing justice being done. Sending the accused to prison will correct his attitude towards the case and help him learn to deal with his feelings of using others for gratification," Chili said.

Having assessed Seleka, Bannie Rulash said a suspended sentence and correctional supervision should be ruled out as Seleka was not a first time offender and had not been remorseful.

"Direct imprisonment is the most suitable sentence in this case... He was convicted for rape and given a suspended sentence in 2000," said Rulash.

He however asked the court to be lenient on another accused, Bongani Nhlapo and consider the "dysfunctional" family in which he was raised.

"At 16 his father rejected the family to live with another family and it's the probation officer's opinion that this has left the accused with feelings of rejection. The accused could be ordered by the court to do community service," said Rulash.

'Life sentence for all'

This raised the ire of Carrie Shelver of People Opposing Women Abuse, who said the men - including Thabiso Thukwane, Sello Mohlala, Moeketsi Mphuti and Kabelo Mwale - had "displayed arrogant and inappropriate behaviour" throughout the trial.

Speaking outside the court, she said: "Life sentence for all... After all, it [the rape] will be with the complainant for the rest of her life.

"Also given the prevalence of violence against women and sexual violence in particular, the community needs to be protected by the state against such criminals."

Seated alongside her were activists from the One in Nine Campaign, which supports rape victims and had advocated for justice in the matter for the past four years. Judge Lucy Mailula stood the matter down for Wednesday.
 

- SAPA

Read more on:    tembisa  |  rape
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.