Victims in Uber rape trial to institute civil action

Uber vehicle. (file)
Uber vehicle. (file)

Two of the victims in what has become known as the Uber rape trial, have announced that they intend to pursue civil claims against the ridesharing service.

Four men are accused of committing multiple crimes, which include using the Uber app to kidnap women before they were robbed and raped.

Attorney Ulrich Roux, who is representing two of the victims, said a civil action against Uber would be instituted next month.

"As it is clear that the horrific crimes committed against our clients, as well as the other victims referred to in the charge sheet, were as a direct result of Uber's lack of internal controls in verifying their drivers," Roux said in a statement.

The alleged Uber driver, Mmotlane Elias Mankgane, and his three-co accused, Daniel Maswikaneng, Sikhosana Bonga and Themba Mkuwanazi, will return to the dock in the Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Thursday as the trial enters its fourth day.

READ: Breakthrough in Uber rape, robbery cases

The accused allegedly went on a crime spree in 2016, using the app pick up women to rob, rape and assault. In two different incidents, they also allegedly tried to murder the passengers.

The charge sheet details how some of the victims were forced into boots, robbed and raped. One of the victims was strangled while another was stabbed in different incidents.

One of the rape victims was also strangled and punched in the face before she was thrown down a steep embankment.

News24 previously reported that of the victims who testified on Day Three of the trial, said she hailed an Uber to take her home after an evening at Montecasino in Fourways in 2016, only to end up spending the night in terror.

The court heard that the woman requested an Uber at around 19:00 on August 2, 2016. Mankgane picked her up in a vehicle which had the same registration number as the one reflected on her Uber app.

READ MORE: Uber rape trial -'He pulled out a knife and turned around' - witness testifies

She climbed into the car, but instead of being driven to her destination, Mankgane pulled over at a parking lot, she told the court.

"He pulled out a knife and turned around. I was not paying attention during the trip, so I did not see where the knife came from or the tape," she said.

"I was taped with my hands behind my back and he proceeded to tape my mouth and rolled me into the boot. At this point, I thought I might not survive the ordeal and he was going to kill me," she told the court.

The witness added that during the course of the night, he unbuttoned her pants, sat her down and stuck his hand inside her underwear.

Mankgane, 26, has pleaded not guilty.  

During cross-examination, his advocate Michelle Ives, said her client would testify that testimony was "nothing but a figment of the witness's imagination".

"I put it to you that Accused [One] will testify that he did not pick you up… he was never at this event and he did not do all of things you have alleged," Ives said.

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