Raped woman fears being a victim again

02 August 2012 - 09:10
By Kathryn Kimberley

LOCKS and chains on her bedroom door failed to keep an assailant out in the middle of the night, and now that the man she accuses of raping her has been acquitted, a Port Elizabeth woman fears that she will become a target once more.

In January last year, a young woman from Walmer was allegedly assaulted and raped. Her door had been bolted shut with a thick chain and padlock.

But, the perpetrator kicked in the bottom half of the door and crawled through the opening.

He had allegedly held a knife to her throat, raped and sodomised her.

But the man she identified as her rapist was yesterday acquitted by the Port Elizabeth Regional Court - almost a year after the matter went to court.

At the close of the state's case yesterday morning, the defence brought a Section 174 application for Siyabulela Dywili's discharge due to lack of evidence.

The complainant was the state's only witness.

Meanwhile, Dywili, 28, also from Walmer, pleaded not guilty to charges of housebreaking, theft and rape. He claimed he was at a tavern with friends at the time of the attack.

Lizette Visage, from the Legal Aid Board of South Africa, argued that it had been too dark in the complainant's shack for her to positively identify the accused. She said the only source of light had been a floodlight outside the complainant's shack.

Only a portion of her door had been open and therefore only a limited amount of light would have been let in. According to the 25-year-old complainant's testimony, her alleged rapist had been wearing a hooded jacket at the time of the offence.

"She could have made a mistake," Visage said.

Forensic evidence also failed to link the accused to the rape.

State prosecutor Ismart Serfontein agreed that due to the complainant being a single witness, the cautionary rule needed to be applied.

"But the witness honestly believed it was him (Dywili)," she argued.

"The state is reluctantly conceding that this identification is not reliable enough on its own and that the court should rule in favour of the accused."

Magistrate Dan Ngoqo agreed and freed Dywili.