Rapist wants to be an attorney again

2013-06-22 00:00

DISBARRED KZN lawyer Robinson Manzi (57), who served half of his 14-year jail sentence for raping a teenager in 2001, wants to be readmitted as an attorney.

Manzi — the father of 10 children — says in an affidavit before the Pietermaritzburg high court that he has repaid his debt to society and been forgiven by the victim and her mother, to whom he apologised while in jail.

He also paid them “damages” of R75 000, which they’d negotiated in terms of Zulu custom.

He was released on parole on October 4, 2010 and is working as a paralegal in Durban.

The application was adjourned indefinitely by consent yesterday to give the KZN Law Society time to investigate the contents of Manzi’s affidavit, and for both parties to file additional papers if necessary.

The Law Society hasn’t indicated yet if it is opposing Manzi’s readmission.

He was struck off the roll in 2004 following his conviction and 14-year sentence imposed in 2003 by Judge Phillip Levinsohn.

Levinsohn took into account that the victim — the daughter of Manzi’s client — was a 14-year-old virgin.

He likened Manzi to a man who had “risen to the top of a mountain and fallen, never to rise again”.

Manzi was well known in KZN as a political activist and ANC campaigner. He is the son of the late former ANC MP Gladys Manzi.

The judge rejected Manzi’s claims at the trial that he didn’t have full sexual intercourse with the victim.

He found Manzi raped the teen in his car on a dirt road near the Sugar Mill casino and “dreamed up” a version to explain away his DNA in her vagina.

He accepted the girl’s evidence that she was crying after the rape and that Manzi offered her R500, which she refused, but he nevertheless placed on her thigh.

Manzi booked the teen and her cousin into a hotel for the night, from where she called her aunt but couldn’t speak for crying.

Her cousin reported the rape.

In his affidavit supporting his application for readmission, Manzi says “reality set in” in prison and he accepted what he did was “indefensible”. He also accepts he has no one else to blame for the “pain and sorrow” he suffered as a result.

He said the rape happened after the death of his mother in 2001, which “demoralised” him and — coupled with the breakdown of his marriage — caused him to “spiral out of control”.

Detailing the rape in his affidavit, Manzi maintains he “mistook” the victim’s interest in him. He also says while they were socialising at the movies and gambling at the Golden Horse and Mt Edgecombe casinos, they “kissed” and she didn’t object. It didn’t occur to him that the victim was under 16 years of age as she “carried herself as a 20-year-old”, he said.

He drove her to an isolated place near the Mt Edgecombe casino that night to “carry on where we left off”.

“She never resisted … When I tried to penetrate her she began to resist and show some displeasure. I stopped there and then told her that I was under the impression that she was willing to have sex,” he said.

He said the next day while driving home he got an anonymous phone call demanding he pay R100 000 “for the girl I slept with the previous night”.

Subsequently, he received several similar calls but continually refused to pay.

Manzi said he was charged with rape a year later.

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