Woman tells of rape terror

2008-11-26 00:00

A young woman from Taylors Halt, Pietermaritzburg, continuously wiped the tears from her eyes yesterday as she described her rape ordeal in the presence of family members, including her mother, during the course of an armed robbery at their home on July 23 last year.

The rapist was identified as one of the two accused before court — Vusi Mseleku (43) — also of Taylor’s Halt.

Mseleku and Thulebona Zuma (30) pleaded not guilty before Judge Kevin Swain and his assessor yesterday to six charges including the rape of two women, three charges of housebreaking and robbery and one of attempted murder.

The state alleges that if it is found that either of the accused did not have sexual intercourse with either of the complainants, he should nevertheless still be found guilty of rape because he kept watch, remained in the vicinity where the rapes were perpetrated, and prevented the complainants’ resistance and escape.

The accused have been warned that in terms of minimum sentencing legislation they could face up to life imprisonment in connection with the rape charges.

The state alleges that the accused broke into three homesteads in May and July 2007 in Taylor’s Halt, robbed the occupants of goods such as television sets, DVD players, hi-fi systems, cellphones, groceries, liquor and clothing and raped the two victims.

They are charged with the attempted murder on July 24, 2007 of Nhlanhla Mbanjwa, who was allegedly shot at when he tried to apprehend them.

The woman who gave evidence yesterday told the court how she, her boyfriend and other family members including her mother, were accosted by intruders while asleep.

During their ordeal they were covered with blankets and tied up with “bandages”. Her hands were bound together behind her back.

She said she was instructed to move from where she lay on the floor to the other side of the bed where she was alone. She heard one of the men question her mother about a firearm. The other continued “looking around”.

“I heard him say: ‘these prostitutes have only cooked cabbage’,” she said.

She said the other man removed the blanket that was on top of her, lifted her skirt and then indecently assaulted her before raping her.

She said she heard the sound of his zip being undone and cried out.

“He said he was going to shoot me,” she said.

She described how her attacker’s cellphone rang twice during the rape. She said that once during the rape, he brought his face close to hers and she was able to see it.

The case is proceeding.

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