Thursday, 2 August 2007

'Then he climbed on top of me'

02/08/2007 07:41 - (SA)

Nivashni Nair

Scottburgh - A 22-year-old BComm student on Wednesday battled to breathe as she relived the events of December 29 2006 when she was robbed of her virginity by one of the three men accused of ambushing five friends at a braai in Pennington.

"The only thing that makes me go on every day is my belief in God and I believe that I still have a purpose in this world," the dark-haired girl told the Scottburgh High Court.

She was the second rape victim to testify in the trial of Mbambo, Sithembiso Joseph Shelembe, 23, and Wonder Wiseman Mchunu, 26.

The girl, who cannot be named, told the court that on December 29, she was with her sister, brother and two friends when they were attacked by Mbambo, Shelembe and Mchunu.

'Where is the fat one?'

She said that after the men robbed them of their cellphones and bags, they were forced into the bedroom, where she tried to look away when her sister and friend were allegedly raped.

She said that Shelembe asked her to expose herself and then asked her how many boyfriends she had had and what she had done with them.

After the two-hour rape ordeal began, the girl looked away but heard the sounds of her sister and friend being raped.

"Then the leader (Shelembe) asked where's the fat one. He then pulled down his pants and climbed on top of me and started to have sex with me. I didn't feel like I was a part of my body.

When something like this happens, you just switch off," she said.

The girl told the court that it was her first sexual encounter and that while Shelembe raped her, he kept telling her that she lied about being a virgin.

"I am not the same person that I was before this. I don't think I can even live alone with a man. It has changed the way I feel about relationships.

Lost her trust in people

"I have lost trust in people because someone says they are not going to hurt you but they do.

"You are not safe even in your own home. I don't go out at night because you can't even have a braai without being attacked," she said.

She told the court that her family, especially her mother, have been terribly affected by the incident as all three of her children were victims.

The girl found it difficult to catch her breath as she told the court that she is living in fear of having contracted HIV/Aids.

Her first test was negative but she fears the next test could be positive. Mbambo faces an additional charge of attempted murder because he tested positive for HIV in 2000.

Earlier, police DNA expert Karin Botha testified that the two cigarette butts found in the bedroom where the attack took place, contained Shelembe's saliva.

A cloth found at the scene also contained his DNA. It is presumed it was semen.

She explained that vaginal swabs taken from the victims also contained the DNA of Shelembe and Mchunu.

The three accused maintain their innocence and insist that they were at their homes in Port Shepstone at the time of the incident.


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