April 28 2001 at 10:13AM
An 18-year-old Cofimvaba woman in the Eastern Cape described to the Umtata High Court on Thursday how she was gang-raped and left for dead after her attackers hacked at her throat with nail-clippers.
The woman, who only regained her voice two months after the attack, was giving evidence after her four attackers were found guilty of three cases of rape, two of murder and one of attempted murder.
Khuthele Qekele, 19, Zonwabele Mbanyaru, 19, Monde Mnyamana, 18, and a 17-year-old youth pleaded guilty and were found guilty of two counts of murder, attempted murder and three counts of rape on Wednesday.
The woman was giving evidence in aggravation of sentence. The four youths were convicted by Judge Mandisa Maya for raping Thabisa Tengile, Nomvume Qwarana both 18, and their 18-year-old friend on the night of August 11, 2000.
Tengile and Qwarana were strangled.
She told the court how she and her friends had begged to be released after the gang-rape.
However, Qwarana recognised the 17-year-old youth and the rapists decided to kill the girls.
"Qekele suggested that my eyes should be gored (gouged out) because when the police take photos of a deceased person the perpetrator's impression normally remains in the eyes of the dead person.
"Qekele pricked my right eye with a sharp instrument and something watery oozed out.
"I could not see what it was because it was already dark. I was hit with a pick handle and I fell down. The suspects argued whether to set me alight.
"Qekele suggested that my throat should be slit. They used a nail clipper," she said.
"They dragged me towards a ditch. My face was covered with dry grass."
She overhead the men saying that the bodies of Qwarana and Tengile were already "cold".
The trial was postponed to June 18. - Sapa