Wednesday, 1 August 2007

'They laughed as I was raped'

August 01 2007 at 04:19AM

By Bronwyn Gerretsen

While one man was raping two young women, his two cohorts were raiding the victims' fridge of drinks and were braaiing boerewors and steak.

That was while also rummaging through the house for items to steal and popping their heads into the room to laugh at the woman being raped and to ask if she was "having a good time".

That emerged in the Scottburgh High Court on Tuesday when the first of three women who were raped at Pennington, on the South Coast, on December 29 2006 testified against her attackers.

Mbambo is also facing a charge of attempted murder

Sithemiso Shelembe, 23, Mthokozisi Mbambo, 29, and Wonder Mchunu, 26, all of Port Shepstone, are facing charges of robbery, rape and indecent assault.

Mbambo is also facing a charge of attempted murder because he was HIV-positive at the time and had been diagnosed with the virus in 2000.

Holding back her emotions, the 20-year-old Durban woman told the court of the ordeal of the night that began with her and four friends having a braai, swimming and relaxing.

Under examination by state advocate Dorian Paver, she confidently looked the three men in the eye when she pointed them out as those responsible for the attack.

Dressed casually in jeans, a blue shirt and slops, and with her blonde hair in a ponytail, she said that she and her friends, two women and two men, had been ordered at gunpoint to hand over their valuables and move to a bedroom.

'I was cool and calm the whole evening'

There, Shelembe had first chatted to them, asking them questions and instructing them to light a cigarette in his mouth, while Mbambo and Mchunu rummaged through the house.

The young woman told Judge Leona Theron that she was raped twice by Shelembe despite protesting and pleading with him not to do so.

She testified that one of her friends had cried and asked for her asthma pump as Mbambo lay on her.

"(Mchunu) came in with drinks... We had had meat in the kitchen ready for our braai... The accused then came in with cooked meat, a steak and a boerewors... they cut the boerewors into pieces and gave it to us in our hands," she said.

She said they had been forced to eat the boerewors while the steak had been left on the bedroom floor.

A while later, the three men had tied the five friends up with silver tape and torn bed sheets before leaving with items including watches, cellphones, money, clothing and cameras.

During cross-examination by advocate Dean Govender, who represented Shelembe, the woman denied that she could have mistakenly identified Shelembe as one of the rapists. He claimed to have been asleep at his home at the time of the incident.

"I was cool and calm the whole evening. I was talking to them and asked (Shelembe) if he had a girlfriend and kids," the victim said.

The woman said that since the incident she had begun working on a yacht as she wanted to "get out of the country" and away from people who knew her and what had happened to her. She said she felt safer on the yacht.

The three are also alleged to have robbed a Gauteng couple who were staying in a nearby holiday cottage where Shelembe allegedly indecently assaulted the woman.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on August 01, 2007


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