Jingxela 'a nice guy'

Penwell Dlamini and Getrude Makhafola

Penwell Dlamini and Getrude Makhafola

To his neighbours, convicted serial rapist Mongezi Jingxela was a nice guy who loved to enjoy his brandy among friends at a tavern down the road.

But yesterday, when the marathon trial finally ended, his wife wanted nothing to do with Sowetan and showed our team the door.

The 39-year-old father of two from Meadowlands, Soweto, has been found guilty on 219 counts, including 66 of rape, by the Johannesburg high court. He received 55 life sentences.

When Sowetan arrived at Jingxela's backyard room, we found dirty laundry in a pile behind the door, unwashed dishes and a cold two-plate electric stove. The room was also stuffy.

Jingxela's wife, Esther Mbusi, sat on a green bedspread-covered bed, breastfeeding her baby. There were two other women with her in the room.

All was well until the Sowetan team introduced themselves.

Mbusi shouted: "I have nothing to say to you. Go away. I have nothing to do with Mongezi."

One of the other two women stood up menacingly and said: "Leave! I told you when you were here earlier that she has nothing to say."

When Sowetan tried to explain the importance of interviewing Mbusi, she retorted: " How did you get my name? The police had no right to give you my name and address."

In an interview with a weekend newspaper three weeks ago, Mbusi was quoted as saying Jingxela was fascinated with sex toys.

Jingxela's 20-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter were not present during Sowetan's visit.

Although they did not wish to be identified, Jingxela's neighbours said they knew him as a friendly person who interacted with them socially.

"He was friendly with all the people and loved his children," said one of the neighbours.

"I was surprised when I saw him on television because he seemed like such a nice person who I could not associate with rape. When I heard about Jingxela's criminal activities, I was not afraid because he had never struck me as a person who could commit such serious crimes," said another.

None of the neighbours knew whether Jingxela was employed or what kind of work he did, but they all emphasised that they had never thought of him as a criminal.