Bloem chief magistrate accused of rape, 3 witnesses dead

2017-12-17 06:00

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Bloemfontein’s chief magistrate has been accused of rape – but the video that can allegedly prove this has been deleted, and three key witnesses have died.

Although the Free State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to prosecute Chief Magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa (57), the Magistrate’s Commission believes there are adequate grounds to have him removed from his position.

Hinxa was suspended on full pay by Justice Minister Michael Masutha two weeks ago.

The commission believed there were simply too many questions and strange circumstances to let go of the case and, in November, brought two charges of misconduct against Hinxa.

Hinxa denies the accusation, claiming that a Bloemfontein law firm paid his accuser to institute the charge.

On Thursday, Hinxa brought an urgent application in the High Court in Pretoria to prevent disciplinary action from being taken against him.

A 42-year-old woman from Botshabelo claims that Hinxa raped her in December 2010 and again in mid-2011.

She said Hinxa lured her by promising that he would help her with legal matters.

She also claimed that on the morning after the first rape, Hinxa gave her R15 and told her to leave his apartment.

She said that when she went to the police, they sent her from pillar to post and did not want to open a case.

The Free State DPP has refused to prosecute Hinxa, saying the allegations against him are “riddled with improbabilities”.

Reliable sources have told City Press’ sister newspaper, Rapport, that three key witnesses have died since the rape claims were first made by the woman: the doctor who examined her; a man who saw her climb into Hinxa’s car; and a police official.

The woman allegedly gave the police official her Blackberry phone, which contained a video she recorded during the first alleged rape.

Sources say investigators are questioning the families of the deceased to determine the circumstances of their deaths.

In a letter seen by Rapport dated June 14 2016, the Free State DPP accuses the woman of being unable to remember the second alleged rape.

According to the letter, the woman revealed that she had secretly made a video of the first rape.

The DPP writes: “You say you had your cellphone in your hand while you were being raped”, which the prosecuting team found “highly unlikely”.

The DPP goes on to write that the accuser’s husband, a member of the police services, said she did not “look emotional” when she told him about the rape.

But the woman insisted that Hinxa was guilty and reported him to the authorities.

Hinxa, meanwhile, said he obtained an affidavit in which the woman allegedly confessed to lying about the rape after the firm, Moroka Attorneys, offered to pay her R100 000.

She denies ever having made such an affidavit and claims that her signature was falsified.

Mosioa Mazibuko of Moroka Attorneys strongly denies that the firm paid Hinxa’s accuser, saying the allegation is defamatory and absurd.

He said the firm would investigate the matter and take legal action if necessary.

Advocate Motlalepule Rantho, acting on behalf of the justice minister and the Magistrate’s Commission, said Hinxa was informed on October 27 about the recommendation to suspend him and did nothing about it until after he was suspended.

Judge Hans Fabricius scrapped Hinxa’s application from the High Court roll.

Luvuyo Mfaku, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the woman could make representations to the national DPP if she was unhappy with the Free State DPP’s decision.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  rape

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