Pirates star walks free as case is dropped
Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana star midfielder Jabu Mahlangu is a free man.
This after the rape charge against him was thrown out by the Johannesburg magistrates' court yesterday.
Mahlangu handed himself over to the Mondeor police in the morning and spent about five hours in the holding cells while his case was decided in the court.
The case was thrown out because of insufficient evidence.
Mahlangu handed himself over after police had gone to Orlando Pirates' training session on Tuesday morning looking for him.
According to Captain Johan du Toit, the charges were laid by a 17-year-old Pretoria girl on Monday. Du Toit said the alleged rape was reported to have taken place at Meredale, in Johannesburg, on Sunday.
Pirates' officials spent yesterday going in and out of Mondeor police station trying to secure Mahlangu's release. He was released at about 3.30pm and rushed out through a back exit by club officials in a BMW. Waiting press photographers could only watch as the car sped off.
Police spokesman Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht said police were within their rights to keep Mahlangu at the police station while his docket was taken to court for a decision.
"The prosecutor could not prosecute him, he is a free man now. If new evidence arises the case will be reopened," said Engelbrecht.
Mahlangu is no stranger to controversy. In 2003 he was arrested on similar charges which were also dropped.
Orlando Pirates spokesman Mickey Modisane told Sowetan afterwards that the allegations were very serious and had come as a shock to Mahlangu and the club.
"Jabu was devastated. This could have ruined his family and his career. But we are glad that the charges were withdrawn and he can now focus on his career," Modisane said.
He said the club was standing by Mahlangu because they believed he was innocent.