‘I can still hear my screams’

2013-03-04 00:00

“I CAN still hear my screams and my mother’s,” a young woman who was gang-raped eight days ago told the Pietermaritzburg high court on Friday.

Responding to an apology offered by one of her three rapists, the university graduate said it had come too late.

“Why wasn’t he sorry when he did what he did?” she asked the man’s legal aid representative, Kelvin Singh.

“My life has changed. I will never be the joyful, happy person I once was and I will always be in fear,” said the woman, who said at the moment she cannot go to the bathroom alone because she is so afraid.

She is also on anti-retroviral treatment and won’t know for weeks whether or not she is HIV positive.

She was hit across the bridge of her nose with a screwdriver and was gang raped while her hands were tied together with cable ties.

She and her mother later welcomed the sentences of life imprisonment for the gang rape, plus 15 years’ imprisonment for housebreaking and robbery, that were imposed on Khotso Mohlomi (26) of Copesville by Acting High Court Judge Kobus Booyens.

The rape survivor’s mother said in a victim impact statement she feels guilty she couldn’t help her daughter and save her from being raped.

She too is traumatised, scared of being alone, and suffers flashbacks.

She and her daughter left home the day after the attack and now live with family and friends in another city.

Mohlomi pleaded guilty to the charges and admitted that he and his two co-perpetrators took turns to rape the younger woman.

Asked why they did so, he replied: “I think we thought that by raping her, that her mother would give us what we wanted.”

He said they had planned only to rob the victims after lying in wait for them to arrive home.

Wielding knives and screwdrivers they robbed the women of jewellery, a DVD player, money, cellphone and a VW Citi Golf.

“I ask the complainants to forgive me. I wish them all the best. I wish that God will protect them so that something like this will never happen to them again. I ask that God forgives me for what I did and for this honourable court to show me mercy,” he said in evidence in mitigation of sentence.

Mohlomi told the court in a statement that while he was driving the stolen car after the incident, police chased him and he overturned the vehicle.

He managed to evade the police and went to a friend’s house in Swapo township.

However, after speaking to his friends he’d handed himself over to the police.

Mohlomi said he is prepared to testify against his accomplices because he knows what they did was wrong.

“We were so stupid and reckless,” he said.

Two other suspects are in police custody and are expected to appear in court today.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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