|Rape victims must be spared extra shame
March 1 2012
THE woman who made legal history in SA when she was charged with raping an underage boy has been sent to jail for 15 years.
The trial caused widespread interest, and now that the high court in Port Elizabeth has handed down sentence it’s clear that there are several important issues involved as well as the merely sensational.
Neither the court nor the lawyers appearing in the matter could find any SA case “dealing with the particular permutation of sexual penetration” involved here.
Thus Judge Judith Roberson was on her own when it came to deciding on a proper punishment.
The accused could have been given a life sentence: the law says that when the crime involves rape of a child or someone who is mentally handicapped, the rapist must be sent to jail for life unless there are substantial and compelling reasons not to do so. In this case the person raped was both under-age and handicapped.
Handing down sentence two weeks ago, the judge noted that the woman, aged 45, had pleaded not guilty and had not taken responsibility for what she had done. The boy who was raped was 15 but had a mental age of 10. He was also severely physically handicapped. According to Dr Thabisa Mabusela, the clinical psychologist who testified in the case, he was unable to walk and was confined to a wheelchair, needing help to eat, drink, wash and dress.
The accused shared a clan name and was employed to care for the boy’s cousin, who was also physically and mentally handicapped.
One of the most significant features of the case was the evidence about the impact of the rape on the boy: you could just as well be reading about the impact of rape on a girl.
There was a “severe impact” on him; he was “very distressed and very angry”; he felt taken advantage of by an adult who he trusted. He became uncomfortable and anxious when he saw the accused and felt guilt and shame about the incident.
He suffered from mood disturbance as well as intrusive thoughts and flashbacks about the incident. He slept badly, didn’t want to eat and found it difficult to concentrate – all symptoms suggesting acute stress disorder.
Judge Roberson commented that the impact was similar to those often described in cases where a girl had been raped and quoted Mabusela as saying that the reaction of the boy in this case “was no different” from that of the girls she has assessed.
The judge described the rape as a “very serious” offence in which an adult took “gross advantage of an especially vulnerable and helpless child”.
“She violated his person and used him as an object, while he was aware of what was happening to him, and was unable to resist.
“She breached a relationship of trust and damaged him severely. She has not expressed remorse and maintains her innocence.”
The judge also took into account the interests of society and the high incidence of child rape.
Society needed to be reassured that the courts shared its repulsion and outrage for such offences and that sentences would reflect the seriousness of the offence and “deep concern” for protecting the most vulnerable.
On the other hand, the accused was 45 and had a clean record. She was capable of rehabilitation; the rape was not planned and it was not the “so-called worst kind of rape”.
She had been a loving and responsible parent to her children and was also active, within her means, in helping less fortunate people. It was unlikely that she would offend again and she was not a danger to society. All of these factors amounted to proper reasons not to impose life imprisonment. What about correctional supervision instead of jail?
The woman continued to deny responsibility for what happened, and a term of correctional supervision would not meet the severity of the offence, said the judge.
There was another factor that struck me as I read the judgment: the boy spoke of his deep shame particularly when he was with his peers “after the trial was reported in the media and a lot of people found out what had happened to him”.
Could his identity have been better protected, I wonder. Was there enough care for such issues when the trial was reported? There are serious challenges here for journalists and for the court.
Child porn suspects back in court
Pretoria News – Sapa
March 1 2012
Johannesburg – The trial of nine people facing charges ranging from sexually assaulting children to making child pornography is expected to resume in the Pretoria North Regional Court on Thursday.
They are a grandfather, 58, grandmother, 57, their two sons from previous relationships, aged 34 and 36, the grandfather’s brother, 61, his wife, 42, and their son, who is reportedly mentally disabled.
The 26-year-old wife of one of the sons was also arrested.
The ninth person was a 31-year-old woman believed to be the wife of accused number eight.
Six children, aged four and older, were allegedly used in sex movies which were then distributed. Four other children were removed from the care of the accused and sent for psychological and medical examinations.
The nine face charges of rape, indecent assault, sexual grooming of children and possession, manufacturing and distribution of child pornography. Eight of them were arrested in late in 2010 and one in January last year.
‘Botox king’ facing rape charge
The New Age
01 March 2012
De Wet Potgieter
A prominent socialite dentist and Botox doctor for the rich and famous in the southern Cape appeared in the George Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, following an incident during the Christmas season when a Pretoria schoolboy was allegedly raped in the doctor’s luxurious mansion in Victoria Bay.
Shocking details of how the petrified 15-year-old boy smsed messages in the dead of night from the house of horrors to a school friend, begging to be rescued, were recounted by close relatives.
When his father and another family friend – the father whose daughter received the text distress calls – went to the house in the early hours of December 28, they found the devastated boy hiding inside the house and the doctor sitting outside on the porch, smoking a cigarette. His ageing mother and father as well as his own children were also present in the house that night.
The boy later told the police how he was given alcohol to drink and shown pornography before the alleged rape took place.
The doctor’s name cannot be published until the charges are put to him in court. His case was remanded during Wednesday’s court appearance for further investigation and his bail extended.
Soon after the alleged rape incident on December 27 and before his arrest on the charges, the doctor and his receptionist told the local newspaper in George that the parents of the boy were behind the allegations, because the mother didn’t pay for her Botox treatment.
A copy of the receipt for Botox services rendered to the mother was recently shown to The New Age.
The boy’s parents were friends with the doctor and his family, and he stayed behind for the night after they spent a pleasant evening at the R11m mansion overlooking scenic Victoria Bay.
The New Age investigation into the 39-year-old doctor’s business affairs unearthed a trail of debts and an alleged life of deceit left behind in Gauteng and Limpopo.
Two years ago he moved overnight from Polokwane to George.
Several dental technicians in Pretoria and Polokwane told The New Age how the doctor ran up accounts with them for dentures and dental products for the various practices he owned and worked for in Pretoria and Limpopo.
The dental technicians, who asked not to be named for professional reasons, alleged that the doctor allowed his accounts to usually run up to between R60000 and R100000. When the technician requested payment, the dentist merely switched his business to another technician. He allegedly got away with this until people in the dental trade started warning each other about his conduct.
When he moved to Polokwane one of his debtors managed to track him down, where he was working as a dentist in a female dentist’s practice, using her business credentials.
“Whenever I phoned him for the money, he said he was just busy with a patient but would make an electronic transfer as soon as he was finished,” a technician said. “Of course, he never did.”
Another technician in Polokwane, who was owed R160000, managed to trace the dentist to George, where he was running his practice under his father’s name.
“I hired a few guys with baseball bats to go down there and get my money,” he said. “But when his father phoned me and begged me to back off because of his financial difficulties, I felt sorry for the man.”
He added that R60000 of the money still owed to him was for the doctor’s own dentures, which he made specially for him.
“That white wide smile he so much likes to show off at social events for photographers belongs to me,” he remarked.
Bail jumper ‘rapist’ rearrested
Pretoria News- Sapa
01 March 2012
A man who skipped bail while on trial for two rapes in 2010 was rearrested in Mankweng on Tuesday, Limpopo police said.
The man allegedly raped two University of Limpopo students in their off-campus accommodation, Constable Moses Molepo said in a statement.
The women had picked him out in an identity parade and he was positively linked to the rapes through DNA evidence. When he failed to return to court a manhunt was launched to bring him back to face trial.
On Tuesday, police caught him after following up on a tip-off. He was found in possession of an unlicensed firearm which had its serial number filed off.
The man would appear in the Mankweng Magistrate’s Court soon.
‘Sex slaves’ go into hiding
The New Age
01 March 2012
Fifteen of the 16 girls who were rescued from “sex slavery” in a Durban hotel have been taken to four different provinces under the witness protection programme.
The girls – some as young as 12 – were rescued more than two weeks ago from the hotel where they were allegedly forced to continually have sex with clients while being fed drugs and alcohol.
Police spokesperson Col Vincent Mdunge said the girls were taken to different locations in four provinces soon after last Friday’s court hearing.
“They will remain under the witness protection programme until the case has been finalised. However, we are still calling on families who have missing girl children to come forward and view the pictures. If some of the girls are their children we will release them into the custody of their parents,” he said.
Mdunge added that police were still investigating and further arrests could follow.
Last week more than 40 parents arrived in Durban to identify the rescued girls but only one of the girls – from Ntuzuma, north of Durban – was successfully reunited with her family after they identified her on an enlarged photo at the police’s Durban headquarters. All the other parents – most from far-flung rural areas of the province – returned to their homes empty handed.
Last Friday Sandile Zweni, 37, Bhabha Dubazane, 29, and Nonduzo Dlamini were charged with human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution, keeping a brothel, drug dealing and selling liquor without a liquor licence.
Charges against the hotel’s manager, Urmila Budram, 59, were withdrawn.
The trio will appear again in court on March 20.
The girls are believed to have been abducted from different parts of the province and country, and were lured to Durban with promises of jobs and modelling contracts.
Durban couple arrested for allegedly assaulting their child
The New Age
01 March 2012
A Durban couple appeared in the Durban magistrate’s court on Wednesday for continuously assaulting a six-year-old girl, after she was found with scars all over her body and face.
Nkosinathi Nkosi, 28, and his partner Prudence Mahlaba, 27, were charged with assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm.
The child was living in the Durban’s Point area with her father, Nkosi, and his partner (Mahlaba), who is her stepmother.
The couple was arrested by members of the Durban Central Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi, when they went to visit the child at the hospital on Monday.
Police spokesperson Col Vincent Mdunge said the girl would be kept at a secret location while social workers were dealing with her case.
“The victim reportedly has a history of abuse by her father and step-mother.
“The couple was arrested in the hospital ward during their visit to see the child. They were charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH),” he said.
Mdunge said when the girl was interviewed by members of the unit she had testified that she was assaulted by her father and her step-mother, who used her long nails to scratch the girl.
He added that a separate case of an alleged sexual assault on the girl is being investigated.
This pertains to an incident that allegedly took place at the girl’s school last month.
Maarohanye’s trial resumes
Pretoria News – Sapa
March 1 2012
Johannesburg – The murder trial of musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and his co-accused Themba Tshabalala is expected to continue in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The lawyers of both accused failed to arrive in court on Wednesday. Prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa told the court Maarohanye’s lawyer Ike Motloung had another case in the High Court in Johannesburg. It had been expected to finish by 11am, but he had not arrived by noon and his cellphone was switched off.
Maarohanye and Tshabalala face charges of murder, attempted murder and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They were allegedly drag racing their Mini Coopers along Mdlalose Drive in Protea North on March 8, 2010, when one of the cars ploughed into a group of school pupils. Four schoolboys were killed and two others severely injured.
Last week, defence witness Benjamin Maseko told the court he did not see the cars driving alongside one another, as though they were racing, as other witnesses had testified.
Jub Jub lawyer fails to pitch up
01 March 2012
MOLEMO "Jub Jub" Maarohanye’s attorney failed to arrive to defend his client in his murder trial at the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto yesterday.
Ike Motloung was reportedly held up at the Johannesburg High Court, where a matter he was attending to on Tuesday rolled over to yesterday.
Prosecutor in the Maarohanye matter, Raymond Mathenjwa, told the court that Motloung had indicated that he should be done at the high court by 11am but he had still not arrived in Soweto by noon. His cellphone was switched off.
Maarohanye and co-accused Themba Tshabalala are on trial facing four counts of murder, two of attempted murder, negligent and reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
They were allegedly drag racing their Mini Coopers along Mdlalose Street from Protea Glen to Protea North on March 8 2010 when they crashed their vehicles into six school children, killing four and critically injuring another two.
Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi postponed the trial to today.
Four accused finger fifth gangster in priest’s murder trial
The Star– Sapa
March 1 2012
The trial of four Diepsloot men accused of murdering an aged Catholic priest at a presbytery was postponed by the Pretoria High Court yesterday.
Kgaugelo Manzini, Thembalethu Sindane, Freddy Mahlangu and Jabu Ndebele are charged with the murder of Father Louis Blondel, 70, on December 7, 2009.
Yesterday, they denied knowing that a fifth member of the gang, Nelson Malope, 20, had been carrying the firearm that killed Blondel. Malope was sentenced last year to 18 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the murder.
Malope, testifying for the State, said the others had planned the robbery with him and knew he was armed, but that he had not planned to shoot. Malope said he shot Blondel while the others were in another room removing a computer.
The four accused said Malope had acted on his own when he shot Blondel, and that only he should face the consequences.
The four admitted to involvement in the robbery but they have all denied complicity in the murder.
The State says the four men, aged between 18 and 22, acted in common purpose when they broke into the presbytery, and that Malope had carried the gun on the group’s behalf.
Last week, Ndebele told the court that he had later thrown away his share of the loot because he had been so scared by the shot.
He claimed he threw the keyboard and mouse into bushes out of fear of what had happened in the house that day.
He said the five had decided to rob the presbytery because they wanted the money people gave to the church on Sundays, as well as other valuables.
The case was set down for April 3, when judgment will be delivered.
Pupil stabbed to death
Pretoria News – SAPA
01 March 2012
A grade 11 pupil was stabbed to death outside the Vorentoe High School in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, an official said.
Health spokesman Charles Phahlane said the boy was apparently attacked and stabbed by five people after school had finished for the day.
“The perpetrators were immediately arrested as a policeman who was fetching his child at the school called for backup,” he said.
“The learner passed on either on his way to, or upon arrival, at hospital.”
Phahlane said the department would send its condolences to the boy’s family and friends.
This was the second murder of a schoolboy in the country this week. On Tuesday 16-year-old Raylin Fortuin was stabbed to death at the Beauvallon Secondary School in Valhalla Park, Cape Town.
Nine caught in R1.5m cable bust
Pretoria News – Sapa
01 March 2012
Nine people were arrested at a factory in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, where stolen cables with an estimated street value of R1.5 million were found on Wednesday, Gauteng police said.
Following a tip-off the Hawks raided the premises on Malcolm Moodie Street in Jet Park around 4pm, police spokesman Lt-Col Tshisikhawe Ndou said.
Officials from City Power, Eskom and Transnet, who accompanied police, identified the copper and aluminium cables as belonging to them and estimated their replacement value at R4 million.
Ndou said the cables were granulated on the premises and then sold for scrap. It was not known for how long the group had been operating.
The nine, aged between 21 and 43, were expected to appear in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Madonsela finds her evidence
The New Age – Sapa
01 March 2012
Evidence of widespread maladministration has been found at Dipaleseng municipality in Balfour, Mpumalanga, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.
She said her findings, released at a news briefing in Balfour on Wednesday, showed administrative deficiencies in various departments.
"The budget and treasury office of the municipality is deficient and its failure to fully comply with the credit control policy of the municipality in respect of the recovering of debts and revenue, amounts to maladministration," Madonsela told reporters.
She suggested remedial action which included the municipal manager taking urgent steps to ensure the municipality’s full compliance with its Credit Control Policy.
The investigation was conducted over 18 months and came after residents of Siyathemba violently protested over the executive mayor and the council of the municipality in July 2009.
They complained about a lack of service delivery and public facilities in the township.
A fence at a public school in Balfour was never completed, and the municipality had no emergency and disaster plans in place, the community contended.
Residents also accused the municipality of having no credit control/debt collection policy, and a finance department with incompetent staff.
Other complaints were that the infrastructure and equipment of the Balfour police station were in a dilapidated state, and a number of RDP houses had never been built.
President Jacob Zuma paid a surprise visit to Balfour on August 4, 2009 and spoke to the community about its grievances.
However, early in February 2010, violence flared up again in Siyathemba.
After visiting the informal settlement that February, Madonsela decided to conduct an investigation into the allegations.
Madonsela in her report added: "It was evident from the investigation that a number of the complaints lodged and allegations made were based on a misunderstanding or a lack of information".
She said complainants were under the mistaken impression that the construction of a new taxi rank, the renovation of the Hoër en Laerskool Balfour, the emergency and disaster planning for the area, the benefits and salary increases of members of the municipal council, and the building of houses in Siyathemba were the sole responsibilities of the municipality.
"The lack of information and the said misunderstanding could, at least in part, be ascribed to the failure by the municipality to communicate properly with members of its community when complaints were lodged."
Despite this a number of these complaints were resolved during the course of the investigation, she said.
‘Selebi caused all the mess in SAPS’
01 Mar 2012
Canaan Mdletshe and Sapa
CONVICTED former police boss Jackie Selebi "is responsible for the mess" in which the country’s police force finds itself, Institute for Security Studies expert Johan Burger said at the University of KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.
"The country’s police force is in a shambles. You have a former (police) commissioner who is serving time in jail … and another (Bheki Cele) who is suspended," Burger said.
"What does that tell you? A judicial commission of inquiry must be established to investigate managerial and structural problems within the police force if the country wants to reduce crime levels."
However, Burger commended Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for being dedicated to his job.
“He is a highly dedicated minister, he tries very hard.”
Burger also said he was happy that visible policing had improved in South Africa.
“I believe that police visibility has made a huge impact in house-related crimes. I am happy that we are improving.”
Visibility had improved in Gauteng and there was a need for the police to be visible countrywide, Burger said.
Although arrest rates were high, conviction rates were low mainly because there was a problem in the investigation of cases.