Byline: Andani Matumba

03 August 2022

The trial of the Embalenhle alleged serial rapist and murderer, Themba Shongwe’s, resumes on Thursday, 04 August 20222 as it was postponed on 27 July 2022 at the Secunda Magistrate court after the testimony of two witnesses.

Shongwe has pleaded not guilty to four (4) counts of murder and (5) counts of rape of the young girls from Embalenhle (Ext 17).

This followed after Shongwe was charged for the rape of five (5) young girls and murder of the four (4) being Nokulunga Nkutha (13), Lerato Nkutha (11) who were cousins, Cynthia Masilela and Mihle Zingamo (14).

The first victim was a teenager when the rape occurred.

She is the survivor and the only witness to testify as a victim in the matter.

The young lady* testified at the Regional Court in camera and members of the public as well as journalists were requested to move outside.

The Honorable Magistrate Graham Cubido argued that the victim had the right to exercise her constitutional right of privacy after the state made an application on behalf of the victim to testify in camera.

The trial proceeded to Wednesday, 27 July 2022 where the victim’s mother testified.

As she was put on the witness stand, the mother narrated the events that took place back in the year 2016 on the day her daughter was raped.

She testified that on the fateful day, she had sent her daughter to go and buy bread and her daughter returned with nothing because the bread they normally eat at home was finished and therefore asked her daughter to go back to the shop and buy whatever brand which was available at the shop.

“I have never been that shocked my entire life than that day when I saw my daughter getting into the house so terrified and covered with dry grass all over her body and clothes.

She came straight to me and said mama I was raped,’’ the mother said.

The mother testified further that the suspect had taken her daughter’s cellphone and told her that he will call the next day so that they meet again at the very same place he had raped her.

The victim was taken to hospital for medical examination and a case of rape was subsequently opened.

“The next day the suspect called my number using my daughter’s cellphone and when I saw the caller ID written my daughters name, I asked her to put the phone on speaker and a male voice said ” I know you have reported me to the police you and your brothers,” and hung up, testified the mother.

The defense lawyer also cross examined the mother on the amount of money she had given to her daughter when she went to buy bread that day and in her response the stated that the years have gone by and old age is kicking in so she might have forgotten how much she had given her as this traumatic experience has even affected her health such that she is now on high-blood pressure medication.

During cross examination, she also stated that her daughter has been affected by the rape psychologically.

“She used to tell me that I do not love her because I could not protect her and later fell pregnant.

My daughter has become very aggressive even when she is undergoing counselling.”

The woman further told the court that she does not know the accused, neither has she seen him before, however, she and her family need closure and she hopes that justice would prevail.

The case was postponed to Thursday, 04 August 2022 for more witnesses to testify.