hell highway fraught with rapes, ROBberies

24 June 2008 - 02:00
By unknown

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

A gang of rapists and robbers is wreaking havoc on a highway and threatening women with HIV-Aids if they don't hand over money.

In two weeks, the gang has raped three women and robbed motorists at gunpoint on the highway near Diepsloot after rolling a tyre into the road to stop their victims' cars.

On Thursday the thugs gang-raped a Pretoria government employee and forced her to reveal her banking details after she had got out of her vehicle to move the tyre.

"Three of the men held me at gunpoint while three others went to the ATM to withdraw money.

"Two of them raped me before they left. They also badly assaulted my two male friends.

"They were robbed and stripped naked," she said.

Sarah Mangena, 26, (not her real name) said the rapists kept telling her that she was going to die.

"I never thought I would actually live to tell the story. Those men were so brutal and heartless. They had no mercy," she said.

The attackers told Mangena and her two companions that they were poor and wanted more money from her.

"They told me if I did not have more money I would be raped and infected with HIV."

Mangena did not have extra cash so she was raped by two of the thugs.

"My initial test was clear and I am on ARVs," she said.

Police said they received the first rape report after a robbery on the highway near Diepsloot two weeks ago.

A woman reported she was raped when she stopped after hitting the tyre in the fast lane of the N14 north.

Also, two other men were beaten up and left naked after the gang relieved them of everything they had.

Workers at a nearby filling station told Sowetan yesterday that they had helped another woman who was robbed and raped after she had hit the tyre.

Police do not have records of the incident but the workers said they were also afraid to work near the highway at night.

Police spokesman Elias Ribisi confirmed yesterday that Thursday's rape incident was not the first. He said another woman was attacked in the same way two weeks ago.

A man who escaped the gang's snare said he was lucky that he had reversed his car after hitting the tyre. Daddy Mhlongo said he suspected something sinister and did not get out of the car but reversed immediately and drove to the nearest garage.

"I went to the nearest filling station and found two other people who also hit the tyre but did not get out of their cars," he said.

Ribisi said police were investigating several cases of the same nature.

"These cases are really important to us and we want to get the culprits," he said.