Double-rape accused to plead not guilty

17 March 2020 - 12:04
By naziziphiwo buso
NOT IN OUR NAME: Protesting students outside the court during an appearance by the suspect last week
Image: EUGENE COETZEE NOT IN OUR NAME: Protesting students outside the court during an appearance by the suspect last week

A 25-year-old suspect arrested in connection with the rape of two PE College students has told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court that he intends pleading not guilty.

The state intends opposing bail for the man because he has no assets, permanent job or fixed address.

The suspect faces four counts of rape, two of kidnapping and two of causing a person to witness a sexual act.

He said during his bail application on Monday that he wanted bail to start his life afresh and that he intended pleading not guilty.

He denied knowing the two women students who accused him of rape and said he worked as a car guard in Richmond Hill and did odd jobs at the taxi rank.

The suspect was arrested on March 5 after he allegedly accosted the students, aged 20 and 22, in Central, at about 7pm on the previous evening.

The young women had been walking in Govan Mbeki Avenue, after accompanying a friend to the taxi terminus.

It is alleged that the suspect threatened the students with a knife and then shoved them into an abandoned building near Govan Mbeki Avenue.

There he allegedly raped them among the rubble and overgrown grass in full view of an another man.  

“I do not know why I have been arrested because I don’t know those girls,” the suspect told the court on Monday.

He may not be named until he has formally pleaded.

An affidavit read in court by the suspect’s mother said he had left her Wells Estate home in 2018 and lived on the streets.

The suspect denied this and said he still lived with his mother.

“I told the police who had visited me that [he]  is my son but had been living on the streets since 2018,” the suspect’s mother said in her affidavit.

“[In 2019] he was to open a bank account, as instructed by his father’s family. I was told that sometimes people see him at the taxi terminus.

“I went there and asked the people around but could not find him.

“Weeks later, he came back home and I told him why I was looking for him and he told me not to look for him.

“I do not know where he sleeps,” the affidavit said.

The suspect said he should not go to jail because his two children, aged two and five, would be negatively affected by him not working.

“With the job that I have at the terminus I support my children,”  he said.

The bail application continues on Tuesday and the suspect was remanded.

About 40 protesting students gathered outside the court on Monday.

Christian Velapi, of the Voice of the Voiceless society, submitted a second memorandum to senior magistrates arguing why bail should be opposed.

“With the court proceedings today we are happy because the suspect is incriminating himself by saying contradictory statements,”  Velapi told The Herald.

Last week, Voice of the Voiceless wrote a letter to the magistrates, President Cyril Ramaphosa and justice minister Ronald Lamola, calling for stern action against the perpetrators of rape.

Another PE College student, Mkhululi Mnukwa, said: “I am here to say ‘not in my name’ because when women are raped we are all grouped into being called rapists and that is not so.

“As a man I am against rape and want him to not get bail.”