Pathologist 'too busy' to conduct rape kit exam on slain Soweto girls

2017-06-26 11:28
Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe. (Facebook)

Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe. (Facebook)

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Johannesburg – The pathologist in the case of murdered friends Popi Qwabe and Bongeka Phungula did not conduct a rape kit exam because he was busy, the Protea Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.

The news emerged during the bail application of the two suspects accused of killing the two women.

During cross-examination, investigating officer Constable Sibusiso Walter Masuku said there was no time to determine whether the two victims were raped.

Masuku told Magistrate Herman Badenhorst that the police did not think a rape kit was necessary as the women were found still fully dressed, and one of them was found with a sanitary towel.

"I am not sure what the previous investigating officer did regarding rape. When I took over, the police officer said that part was never established."

He said he took over the case of the two men from another investigating officer, a little after the women were found in Soweto.

Badenhorst then lambasted the police. He said even though the women appeared fully clothed when their bodies were found, it did not rule out rape.

Badenhorst also expressed disappointment over the police's handling of the case, saying that it was disappointing and irresponsible.

'Investigating officer was vague'

"I am disappointed at the police that they didn’t take [swabs] to make sure that the deceased weren’t raped. Some accused don’t use condoms," Badenhorst said during his ruling.

He added that a rape kit would have helped police verify information on the suspects.

"It's a pity samples were not taken," he said. The bodies of the two girls were taken to KwaZulu-Natal for burial.

Masuku also told the court that he was not sure when forensic report on the case would be released.

He maintained that there was strong evidence to prosecute the two men, "However, the forensic report and other investigation will make it stronger".

"Even if the forensic report does not link the two, I still have a strong case," Masuku told the court.

The two men, Alec Magaula MaMothame and Sandile Nkosi, were granted bail on Friday afternoon. Badenhorst said refusing bail for the two accused would be unfair because the State’s case was vague.

"The investigating officer was vague. There are certain things he doesn’t want to disclose. Perhaps he doesn’t want to jeopardise his investigations, but in this case I need strong evidence for the court to make a decision."

Accused version of events

On the first day of their bail application, MaMothame's lawyer read out an affidavit explaining his client's version of events.

MaMothame, a taxi driver, told the court that on the night of May 12 he picked up three men and two women he believed were passengers in Soweto.

Shortly after they boarded his taxi, a gun was pointed at him and he was hijacked, he said. He managed to jump out of the moving vehicle and made his way to the area where his boss, taxi owner Johannes Mkhwanazi, usually parked his taxis overnight.

He then asked one of the men to call Mkhwanazi to inform him of the hijacking, the court heard.

While on the phone, MaMothame and Mkhwanazi then allegedly agreed to meet at a nearby police station to open a hijacking case. However, while there, the vehicle tracking company called Mkhwanazi informing him that his minibus had been found in Mapetla.

According to police at the scene, two or three men jumped out of the minibus and ran away, the court heard.

His co-accused Nkosi, who was found in possession of one the women's cellphones, told the court through his lawyer Harry Maluleke that he had been tasked with parking the minibus taxi after it was recovered and discovered a cellphone in the vehicle, which he decided to keep after failing to identify who it belonged to.

The two women were found on May 12 and 13 respectively, after they were shot and killed. Their bodies were dumped in Naledi and Tladi.

Qwabe, 24, was discovered by a passer-by in Naledi on the Friday and taken to a nearby hospital, where she died on arrival. Phungula was found dead in neighbouring Tladi the next day.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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