“If he gets bail, he will die, we will kill him”
These were the calls made by members of the public, sitting in the gallery of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court where a 45-year-old man accused of raping two minor girls in a hotel in Tshwane, made his first appearance.
As the man entered the dock on Monday, he was met with scornful comments as well as the inconsolable crying of a woman who had nearly collapsed as she caught a glimpse of the man accused of raping her niece.
The man, whose identity cannot be revealed because he is related to one of the victims, is accused of raping two girls, aged 11 and 13 in a hotel room in Tshwane.
It is alleged that the accused picked up the victims from Lotus Gardens in Atteridgeville on Friday, took them to a liquor store in Pretoria West, and then made his way to the CBD where he rented the hotel room.
In his first interaction with the court, the accused said he did not want to waste the court’s time and wanted to plead guilty.
He has been charged with two counts of rape and two counts of kidnapping. It was also revealed by police that the accused was on parole, after previously being convicted and serving time behind bars for rape.
Following a short adjournment, he then opted for legal aid and told the court that he wanted to apply for bail.
As the matter was postponed to 7 December for a formal bail application, members of the public sitting in the gallery started chanting: “No bail, no bail, no bail.”
One member of the public said, “please your worship, don’t give this man bail.”
Another shouted: “If he gets bail, he will die, we will kill him.”
While the court orderlies tried to regain control of the court room, the aunt of one of the victim’s started crying again as she was consoled by other family members, who also had tears in their eyes.
Outside of the court, the aunt, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, attempted to recount the ordeal.
Traumatised and broken
She said they were looking for her niece and her friend after they went missing, and upon finding out where they were and what had happened, her whole life came crumbling down.
“Now the child is traumatised, I don’t know what to say, I cannot face her,” she said.
She continued: “I’m so hurt, it’s so painful, how can an old man rape innocent kids? We can’t sleep, we can’t eat because of what happened. I didn’t believe that one day it would be our family facing a situation like this.”
She said her niece has not stopped crying, and has also struggled to sleep since the incident occurred.
The victim’s mother is equally traumatised and was not able to come to court because of her emotional state.
Themba Masango, the secretary general of lobby group Not in My Name, who has been supporting the families told News24 he was disappointed when the accused said he wanted to apply for bail after telling the court that he wanted to plead guilty.
“Perhaps he got some different legal advice, that is his right,” Masango said.
“What we are requesting is that the harshest sentence is given to this man. Our country is currently in a second pandemic of this type of crimes that are happening, and we cannot afford this.”
Masango also asked that political parties not politicise the case.
“These are real human beings involved here, these are children that are involved here, when you are joining, please come in from a genuine point of view to seek justice.”
The matter has been postponed to 7 December for a formal bail application.
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