Accused denies break-ins, rapes

2009-02-11 00:00

A 43-year-old man from Taylor's Halt, Vusi Mseleku, has pleaded not guilty in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to taking part in a spate of housebreakings and robberies in which home occupants were raped or indecently assaulted in Inanda, Durban and Pietermaritzburg in 2003 and 2007.

Mseleku said in a statement handed to Judge Chris Nicholson by his attorney, Ishi Khan, that in connection with four of the charges facing him - dating back to December 2003 - he was arrested for being in possession of a radio that belonged to the complainants.

He said the radio was left with him by his brother-in-law, Sihle Khumalo, as security in exchange for lending him R150. "He assured me it was his radio," Mseleku said in the statement.

He said he became aware that the radio was stolen during a robbery only when the police arrested him.

He said he explained to police how he came to possess the radio, but presumed they arrested him because they were unable to find Khumalo.

Mseleku said he has not seen Khumalo since.

The state alleges that during the early hours of December 12, 2003, Mseleku, together with others who were armed, broke into a home at Amatabetulu, Inanda, threatened the occupants and robbed them. One of the women in the house was gang-raped, and another was raped by one man.

Mseleku has also denied three charges of housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances, indecent assault and rape, allegedly committed on April 27, 2007 at Taylor's Halt, as well as similar charges relating to a burglary and rape allegedly carried out at a different home in Taylor's Halt on April 30, 2007.

He said he was "most likely" at home in Inanda on those nights.

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