More than 10 years later, rape victim still seeking closure, blames NPA

2019-07-14 12:21
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It has been more than 10 years since a Hamaanskraal woman was raped, yet she is still seeking for closure. 

The woman, who has requested that her identity be protected, has accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of failing to speed up a case against David Phala, who allegedly raped her in 2008.

Phala has been charged with rape, assault and attempted murder in the Temba Magistrate's Court, however, the matter has been dragging on for years.   

Last year, the victim's lawyers approached the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria requesting a declaratory order that the NPA "failed" to execute a mandate in terms of their Act to prosecute criminal proceedings.

In February, the High Court ruled in her favour, ordering the NPA to finalise the matter within three months. However, this has still not happened.

The woman's lawyers confirmed to News24 that they will be lodging a claim against the NPA for damages.

Speaking to News24 on Wednesday, the woman said she felt "let down" by the prosecuting body, accusing it of "acting with prejudice towards me as a victim of rape crime".

DNA samples

In December 2008, she was attacked and raped at home in Marapyane village near Hammanskraal in Gauteng.

The survivor, who was 18 at the time of the incident, had just returned home from the University of Limpopo where she was studying towards a law degree.

In court papers filed in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, she states that she and her family were up until late at night when they were attacked by two men - one of them wore a balaclava while holding a knobkierie and the other one was armed with a gun.

"Later after the incident I learned that one wearing a balaclava was David Phala and both the male persons were from a neighbouring village called Matimpule," she said in court papers.

Phala allegedly took her to another room and raped her, she said.

"When [second attacker] was done raping my stepsister he came to the room where David Phala was raping me and told [Phala] that he also wanted to rape me as soon as he was done raping me," read the court papers.

The woman said they were rescued by two men who lived in the village. She said there was a shootout in the house and Phala's balaclava was removed.

Following the shooting the two perpetrators fled the scene. One of the men who rescued them died.

The woman was rushed to hospital where she later saw Phala.

"I consulted with the doctors for my injuries and at the same time a J88 form was filled in by a doctor explaining the extent of my injuries I had sustained. DNA samples were also taken by the said doctor."

'I fell let down'

Phala was arrested after going to the hospital with a gunshot wound. His co-accused was also arrested after they were positively identified.

In 2010 there was a separation of trials for Phala and Kgaphamadi. 

"At the time I was advised by the prosecutor that there must be a separation of trials because the case of David Phala had to be prosecuted in accordance with the Child Justice Act, 75 of 2008 as he still was a minor."

In 2011, Kgaphamadi was found guilty of the murder of the man who helped to rescue the victim and her family. He was sentenced to life in prison.

But Phala has not been convicted yet. The woman has accused the NPA of failing to finalise the case.

"I feel let down and I want closure because more than anything, I just want to move on.  I have never slept at my mother's place ever since that incident," she told News24.

"Members of the Prosecuting Authority have failed to exercise their functions without fear, favour or prejudice."

News24 has seen a letter written by the woman's lawyers from Gwebu Incorporated Attorneys addressed to the National Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Shamila Batohi.

In the letter, the lawyers state that although they are aware of postponements due to ongoing investigations, they are unaware of the nature and status of the investigations, nor any steps taken by the NPA.

"Given that it is more than 10 years since our client lodged complaints against the accused, we require your office to indicate whether or not the NPA has decided to prosecute," reads the letter.  

Attempts to get comment from the NPA have been unsuccessful, but will be added to the story if received.

Read more on:    npa  |  rape
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