Chaplain guilty of sex charges

2009-10-28 09:32

Pretoria - Senior military judge, Colonel Len Els, on Tuesday found a chaplain from Waterkloof Air Force Base guilty of disgraceful conduct.

"Chaplain Ndala, you are a typical example of behaviour unbecoming of an officer," was the damning verdict.

Els said the evidence pointed to Chaplain WT Ndala in all probability having sex with a married subordinate's wife, or that he was on the verge of having sex with her.

Sergeant PT Rampeng, a VIP protector, laid a charge against Ndala after he caught him with Sergeant Mavis Rampeng in one of the VIP rooms in Waterkloof's officer mess in September 2007.

She died a few months ago. Her husband at times had tears in his eyes as he sat in court, listening to how Ndala dismissed the events as an innocent incident.

Caught naked on top of woman

Ndala claimed he had quickly taken a shower in the officers' mess during lunch while the deceased had rested a bit.

They had earlier in the day been at a school for disabled people, one of the base's empowerment projects.

Before he knew what was happening, Sergeant PT Rampeng had jumped him, grabbed his pants and kicked him on the ground.

Rampeng's version, which Els decided was the most probable, was that he had caught a naked Ndala on top of his wife.

Ndala hid in a wardrobe and Rampeng pulled him out of there. Els found that Rampeng probably pointed a firearm at him and assaulted him.

According to other witnesses, a "hysterical furious male voice" and another "pleading male voice" had reverberated through the mess corridor.

The angry voice belonged to Rampeng who kept shouting at Ndala: "Why are you fucking my wife?"

Furious husband

According to Els, Rampeng's behaviour fitted the profile of a furious husband who had caught his wife with another man.

It would also have been unlikely that a subordinate officer would attack a senior officer and chaplain of his unit without sufficient reason.

According to Rampeng, he had gone looking for his wife - who worked at the mess - after the crèche had called him about a problem with their children.

His wife's cellphone was off and that is why he went to the officers' mess.

The door to the room where he had caught his wife and Ndala, had not been closed, so he was able to storm in easily.

During the men's row, Mavis Rampeng had run away screaming, rushing into the kitchen wearing only her underwear and a towel around her body.

Her husband later brought her her dress and jewellery.

According to Ndala, he had known the deceased well and had often counselled her as she had struggled to cope with her husband's jealousy and fits of anger.

Ndala will be sentenced in November, after which the air force would probably have to rule on whether he should stay on as a chaplain.