HITCHHIKER IS GANG RAPED
A 32-year-old Zimbabwean woman was repeatedly raped by a group of men who gave her a lift at a popular hiking spot yesterday.
The incident happened yesterday in Polokwane. The woman had earlier left Johannesburg, where she works, and was on her way home.
She went to the spot used by hitchhikers near Correctional Services at about 7pm to hitch a lift to Makhado.
The woman had a lot of luggage and decided to hike to Makhado to stay overnight with relatives and continue her journey the next day.
Polokwane police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe said she was waiting alone when three men in a car stopped and offered her a lift.
Ngoepe said after driving about 500 metres the men offered her a drink, but she refused.
"They forced her to swallow the drink and within a few minutes she was intoxicated.
"The men parked the vehicle in a secluded spot and repeatedly raped the woman throughout the night.
"She was found at the scene by passers-by who were going to work in the morning.
"The police were called in by one of the passers-by. When the police arrived they found her still dizzy," Ngoepe said yesterday.
Meanwhile, three days earlier, a man who was driving a Mercedes-Benz from Polokwane to Mokopane was forced to hand over his car to a group of men whom he had given a lift to.
The man was driving from the city centre when he saw three men hitchhiking at the same spot where the Zimbabwean woman was abducted, Ngoepe said.
"The 38-year-old man offered them a lift.
" Just before they left Polokwane the men produced a firearm and ordered him to stop.
"One of the men got into the driver's seat and he made a U-turn to the Lebowakgomo road."
They drove for about five kilometres and then stopped, ordering the owner to get out of the car. They drove off, leaving the man stranded. No one has been arrested for the two incidents, but police investigations are continuing, Ngoepe said.
He cautioned both drivers and pedestrians not to make themselves vulnerable by either asking for or offering anybody lifts.