Former Hibiscus Coast traffic warden found guilty of rape

2012-01-24 00:00

FORMER South Coast traffic warden Sidwell Thamsanqa Khawula (49) was found guilty by a high court judge sitting in Pietermaritzburg yesterday of kidnapping and raping a woman whilst he was on duty on November 10, 2008.

Sentencing was postponed to Thursday (January 26) at the request of Khawula’s advocate B.J. Buthelezi, who said the case is serious and the defence wants to call witnesses to testify in mitigation of sentence.

The case was adjourned for that purpose to the Ramsgate high court.

Judge Yvonne Mbatha, sitting with assessors, yesterday agreed to extend Khawula’s bail of R1 000 pending the sentencing.

Buthelezi said his client had attended court on every occasion he had to whilst on trial and state advocate Andre Ludick also raised no objections to bail being extended.

Khawula, who is from Port Shepstone, pleaded not guilty to the allegations during his trial and claimed in evidence that he and the victim had engaged in consensual sex, which the court rejected during judgment yesterday.

According to the court’s findings, Khawula — a member of the Hibiscus Coast municipality protection service — was on duty and driving a fully marked official vehicle at the time of the incident.

According to evidence led he saw the complainant in Port Shepstone and called out to her, offering her a lift to the building she said she wanted to go to in Marburg. She accepted.

When she emerged from the building in question she had found Khawula waiting for her and he again offered her a lift.

On that occasion she said she asked him to drop her at a bus stop, but instead he drove on and proceeded along a dirt road leading to a sugarcane plantation. He thereafter parked in the plantation and subsequently raped her, after producing his firearm and placing it on the seat of the vehicle. Afterwards he took her to the bus stop and dropped her off.

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