2007-08-01Rape victim asked if she was 'having a good time'

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2007-08-01Rape victim asked if she was 'having a good time'

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-08-01 14:40

http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=315520&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/

Rape victim asked if she was 'having a good time'

Giordano Stolley | Scottburgh, South Africa


01 August 2007 07:12

Each time a Durban woman objected to being kissed while she was being raped, her attacker pressed a Smith & Wesson revolver to her head, the Scottburgh High Court heard on Tuesday.

His HIV-positive accomplice then asked her: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

That was after the second time she had been raped by the same man in less than two hours.

The young woman, who may not be identified, said the "shock" and "gasp" of a friend was the first signal that a pleasant evening braai would turn out to be a night where she and her friends were raped while two others had to watch.

"I saw a shocked expression on her face," said the quietly spoken woman.

"I looked around and saw three people with weapons in our faces."

The three men -- Mthokozisi Mbambo (29) Sithembiso Shelembe (23) and Wonder Mchunu (26) -- allegedly raped the three Durban women at a beach-house in Pennington, south of Scottburgh, on December 29 last year. They are accused of attacking and robbing a Gauteng couple later that night.

The young woman said their faces had not been covered during her ordeal and she had identified them at a identity parade in Durban on January 12.

Asked if she had seen the men again, she said: "They are here in the court room".

Judge Leona Theron ordered that the public vacate the court, except for the media on condition that they did not name the victims.

Earlier, prosecutor Dorian Paver told the court DNA from two of the accused was found inside the three victims, and saliva from one accused was found on two cigarette butts found at the crime scene.

He said police had, during their investigations, recovered numerous items.

The three men had been arrested at a road block by the Port Shepstone area crime combating unit.

Paver told the court that a pair of women's running shoes had been "discovered on the feet of accused number two after his arrest". Paver said the shoes belonged to the Gauteng couple.

"A watch was recovered from the girlfriend of the accused number three."

The watch belonged to the woman, who has worked overseas since her ordeal.

She told the court that the men had initially promised not to harm anyone.

The woman and her two female friends were then ordered out of the swimming pool and onto the terrace with their two male friends who had been preparing the braai.

They were then ordered into the main bedroom of the Pennington simplex.

The attackers ordered the two men to sit on the floor, while the three women were ordered to sit on the bed.

The woman said Shelembe kept on talking to those in the room while his two accomplices rummaged through the house.

"He told us to light his smoke," she said. "He [Shelembe] had a cigarette in his mouth and he wanted us to light it for him."

She described how the three men became agitated as they kept on demanding a laptop computer.

"Then it looked like they were getting cross. They kept on asking for a laptop. They were getting aggravated."

'They are going to hurt us'
It was then that Shelembe asked the woman if he could see her private parts. At first she said she did not hear him. The demand was repeated.

"I looked at him shocked. I said no."

She asked Shelembe why he wanted "to do that. They had told us they weren't going to hurt us.

"He said he won't hurt me."

The woman said Shelembe told her "he just wants to see".

She still refused but then: "He said, 'I'll shoot you,' and he pointed the gun at my head. I started getting cross and then realised that they are going to hurt us and my friends.

"I showed him. I had my bikini pants and I pulled it aside."

He then raped her for the first time. As she was being raped she saw Mbambo "moving" on top of her friend on the other side of the bed.

"She couldn't breathe. She was crying. I said please pass her bag. I got her asthma pump and gave it to her."

She said Shelembe then raped her friend after Mbambo before coming back to rape her a second time.

The three women and two men were also forced at gun point to eat their own boerewors that the attackers had cooked on the braai while detaining them in the bedroom.

The third woman was raped after she "politely refused" to eat the boerewors and was asked how many times she had intercourse with her boyfriend.

All five were tied up with silver tape and strips of the sheet torn from the bed before the three attackers left.

Under cross-examination the woman was asked how could she have been so certain that the three men in the court were the attackers.

"It took a little bit over two hours. I was staring at them the whole time."

She said that as she was being raped by Shelembe on the bed, Mbambo came right up to her and asked: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

The three men had earlier pleaded not guilty to all the charges of rape, indecent assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mbambo also pleaded not guilty to attempted murder. In the indictment it emerged that Mbambo was diagnosed as being HIV-positive "as far back as 2000".

The indictment said that Mbambo raped the women "in spite of his knowledge of the potential transmission of a virus leading to fatal consequences".

Mbambo's advocate Anneliese Harrison said Mbambo was nowhere near the crime scene, but in the company of his brother Xolani Mbambo on the night.

Advocate Abdul Khan said his client, Mchunu, would argue that he was at home with his sister.

Shelembe's advocate, Dean Govender, said Shelembe would "elect to remain silent" but "my instructions are that he [Shelembe] was never there".

Govender said Shelembe had advised him that one of the fathers of the three women had been in the police cells and taken pictures of the three men with his cellphone.

The woman said her father had never been to the police cells at Durban's Brighton Beach police station, where she identified the accused in an identity parade.

She said: "It's something that'll be with me for the rest of my life. It's not just affected me. It's [affected] all the people around me. My family. Seeing them go through it.

"It made me get out of the country for a while. I feel much safer on a yacht."

The young woman told the court that she had left the country a month after the incident to work as a stewardess on a yacht. - Sapa
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GOSA
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