But police may reopen his rape case

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The case against a senior prison official in Limpopo, who stands accused of raping a woman on prison premises, has been provisionally withdrawn.

Alfred Mokgaila, 45, head of the Kutama Sinthumule Prison in Makhado, is off the hook for now.

The charges against Mokgaila were provisionally withdrawn because the complainant had asked for "space to sort out some personal things".

Mokgaila appeared in the Waterval magistrates' court this week for the alleged rape of the woman.

At the time of the rape the woman was working at the prison after she who won a tender to clean the facilities within the prison.

The incident happened in February when Mokgaila allegedly forced himself on the woman, whose name is known to Sowetan.

The victim is said to be pregnant and it is not clear if she is expecting her alleged rapist's baby or not.

Shortly after the alleged rape, female prison warders at the institution raised concerns about their safety.

Mokgaila was immediately suspended but was reinstated after an internal disciplinary hearing.

According to Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo, the spokesman for the Limpopo police commissioner Calvin Sengani, the victim had refused to testify in court because she was heavily pregnant and was about to give birth.

"We have provisionally withdrawn the case against Mokgaila until the complainant instructs us otherwise," said Mojapelo.

He said that the complainant was at liberty to "come back to us" and after that the case against the suspect would be reopened.

Thabo Bulala, provincial coordinator of the South African Police Union said yesterday that it was interesting to see where the case would lead.

"We are keeping a watchful eye on the developments of the case and we are pursuing the matter with keen interest," explained Bulala.

He said, however, that they respected the complainant's right and her decision to make herself available when she is ready to do so.

Kutama Sinthumule Prison is one of the biggest in the country. The prison was built in 2002 and it accommodates 3000 prisoners.