Kidnap, rape accused appears for attack on Uber commuter

Johannesburg - A man accused of kidnapping, raping, and robbing an Uber commuter appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Elias Mankgane’s case was postponed to September 19 for a formal bail application. The woman's lawyer, Ulrich Roux, said he hoped the State would oppose the application due to the nature of the charges.

She got into a car thinking it was an Uber taxi outside Montecasino, in Fourways, in July. Two men were allegedly lying down in the back of the car.

She was tied up, locked in the boot and driven to an ATM more than a hour away. She was assaulted and forced to withdraw money, then taken to a veld and raped. This was revealed in a Facebook post a few days afterwards.

In the post, Uber commuters were told to make sure the car's licence plate matched the one they were sent on their phone.

Positively identified

Shortly after Mankgane's appearance on Friday, Roux said he hoped the other two culprits would be arrested soon.

He said his client positively identified Mankgane during an identity parade earlier in the week.

“We can only hope that the others get picked up soon.”

The woman was working closely with the police and dealing with the traumatic experience.

“She is still very traumatised. It was a horrible and harrowing experience, but she is buckling down and dealing with it.”

He said there were suspicions that the three men were linked to another Uber-related crime in northern Johannesburg last month.

Suspects released

In August, a couple was attacked after ordering an Uber ride home via the service's mobile app, from the Movida nightclub in Sunninghill in the early morning hours.

Shortly after departing, two men hiding in the boot pushed the back seats forward and got into the front of the car. They stabbed the man and bundled the woman into the boot. She was raped. The attack happened on the N1 William Nicol Drive off-ramp.

Two people had been arrested in connection with that attack. The matter was provisionally withdrawn earlier this week and the suspects released.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the prosecution was not satisfied with the evidence and declined to put the case on the court roll.

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