Byline: Thendo Buasi

19 September 2022

Thomas Mandla Sibiya (39) , dance group leader from Embalenhle was granted bail at Evander Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 20 September 2022 and on Tuesday, 10 October respectively on charges of rape.

Thomas was arrested in connection with the alleged rape of four (4) girls from Siyanqoba Cultural Group that he leads.

There is now conflict between community members as some believe that he would have committed the said offence meanwhile some believe that the girls are merely used to settle disputes between the two famous cultural groups from Embalenhle since the accused has to travel abroad during the period of his arrest.

During cross-examination for his first formal bail application which only concerned two (2) of the victims on Tuesday, 13 September 2022, the accused denied before the Evander Magistrate court that he raped two (2) girls at his flat in Embalenhle.

Sergeant Sibanyoni, the investigative officer (IO) who is also the state witness testified that the accused asked the girls to go and clean his room, and that was when the incident happened.

Sgt. Sibanyoni further stated that the victim who is 15-year-old was raped twice on two consecutive Fridays of 19 and 26 August 2022.

On the last said Friday the victim was on her periods and that is when she felt traumatized and just left the cultural dance group to join iBomba arts and culture group.

He also stated that Nkosinathi well known as ‘Fats’, the director of iBomba saw Nana shaking and looking traumatized, he therefore confronted her until she spoke out on what the accused had done to her.

Sibanyoni further stated that the victim was examined by a doctor, who confirmed that she was raped.

It was also put to the court that a case was once opened against the accused in 2018 after the accused went on a trip to Durban with his cultural group.

It is alleged that the accused sexually assaulted two dancers during the trip by inserting his finger in their private parts while they were on their monthly periods and further instructed them to call him “Daddy”.

Upon cross-examination which took three days (3) from 13 to 15 September 2022, Sgt. Sibanyoni provided evidence based on the Facebook comment against the accused which anonymous wrote that the accused sexually abused the dancers at the center and during the practice.

It was alleged that he would touch them inappropriately.

Anonymous also wrote that “The other day my cousin went to that center she came back pregnant carrying the accused baby and at that time she was 16 years of age”.

It was also alleged that the accused has six (6) children from different mothers including a 16-year-old girl.

The accused stated that he handed himself over to the police after he heard that police came looking for him in his flat, when he got to the police, they didn’t arrest him, but the following day they went back to his place and arrested him.

However the stg rebutted the statement by the accused in that the accused lied by saying “he handed himself to the police”.

The IO mentioned that the accused was misleading the court by lying when he testified about how he was apprehended and by informing the court that he never collected his passport at home affairs meanwhile the passport was found with one “baby mama”.

Sgt. Sibanyoni pleaded with the prosecutor that the accused must be remanded in custody until the start of his trial as it would be high risk to the victim as they stay 5km away from each other.

He further stated that if he is released on bail and he goes back to the same cultural group the children will no longer be comfortable with him in the same group and it will push them from Siyanqoba cultural group which subsequently will direct them to the streets where they would be more vulnerable to gender-based violence.

He furthermore stated that if they are more criminal activities happening in that centre, the centre should be closed down regardless of how the centre is helping children from eMbalenhle community.

On Tuesday, 20 September 2022 during the final judgment of the bail application, the magistrate granted bail to the accused person in the amount of two thousand rand (R 2000) with restrictions that he must not be in contact with the victim and the witness and however could not be released to the community since he still had another pending matter which was to be discussed separately.

The accused was further released on warning on 10 October 2022 for the second matter and the magistrate reprimanded the state for not joining the two matters to be heard at the time.

An issue of jurisdiction was further pleaded by the attorney representing the accused since the said incident was said to have occurred in Durban.

The matter was subsequently postponed to 25 November 2022.