Father on trial for death of alleged child rapist
By Khuthala Nandipha
The East London community came out in support of a 38 year-old Mdantsane father of three, charged with the premeditated murder of a man who confessed to raping his daughter more than four times in Mdantsane in 2018. The father cannot be named for legal reasons.
The first day of trial, January 30, 2020 was postponed when his lawyer, Yoliswa Adonis-Ngoqo of Adonis Ngoqo Attorneys had to withdraw from the case because of challenges with the Legal Practice Council, formerly known as the Law Society. The defendant was arrested in October 2018 and was denied bail.
On Monday, February 3, 2020 the case was assigned a Legal Aid lawyer for his trial. The defendant was informed by the mother of his twins in 2018 that a neighbour had been raping their daughter on more than one occasion. She had taken the nine-year-old, at the time, to the doctor and it was confirmed that she had been sexually violated.
The defendant spoke to his daughter who detailed that the deceased had raped her more than four times. The defendant went to the house of the deceased with a friend. The deceased let him in and after realising who he is and what he knows, he begged him to not hurt him.
The defendant admits that he assaulted the deceased by stabbing him in his penis. He then dragged the injured man to the nearest police station and left him in the hands of the police. He then travelled to visit his father in the Transkei. He received a call that the police are searching for him because the alleged rapist died the following day after he was stabbed.
In a Facebook post by the defendant, he recalls, “I came back after six days and went to report the matter to the police. I was arrested and charged with premeditated murder.”
He has been denied bail twice, before Adonis-Ngoqo took on the case pro-bono and tried to apply to appeal with new facts as there was ground to do so. Due to financial difficulties, the application was not filed.
“My complications with the Legal Practice Council, I anticipate will be resolved by the end of February. This is an interesting case that I took up when I saw the defendant’s plea on social media. I believe his version and I want to see this case go to trial,” said Adonis-Ngoqo.
The defendant, who is a driver for a local company, is a first time offender.
Siya Rumbu used to be driven by the defendant during his high school days, and he has been actively supporting him and believes that he should be freed. “I know him personally, he is a gentleman who used to treat us with respect even after we stopped riding with him. He is sweet and likes making jokes” said Rumbu.
Rumbu expressed concern over Legal Aid taking up this case, claiming that it may not be treated as the ‘landmark case’ he thinks it is. “Legal aid is overloaded with cases. Gender Based Violence needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. How parents react when aggrieved is a matter that the law must look into very acutely and know that they are setting a precedence with this case,” said Rumbu.
Friends and supporters have set up a Facebook page and a free hashtag. Many attended what was meant to be the first day of trial and they shared their views on the case. MaNdamase Nkata said, “What confuses me is that people kill their partners and they do not get arrested because there are no witnesses. Now a man has been arrested for protecting his child. Why?" A relative of the defendant said: “This society is lawless. Criminals are roaming the streets and those who protect their kids are jailed.” Another relative added that they need him back home as soon as possible.
Mai Engels joined the Facebook group this year after reading about the defendant’s story.
“He did the right thing as a father but what this South African law did was very wrong. Who is taking care of his kids while this amazing father is locked up for protecting his children? This man shouldn’t be in jail.”
The rate of sexual violence in South Africa is one of the highest in the world with the Eastern Cape province - the country’s poorest, with unemployment of over 45% - having a higher level of rape per capita of population than any other.
In a similar case in 2017, Nokubonga Qampi (56) of Lady Frere became known as the “Lion Mama” after she killed one of three men raping her daughter. She was charged with murder - but after a public outcry the prosecution was halted, with the National Prosecuting Authority dropping the charges without reasons being given.
However, this case is slightly different because the accused is charged with premeditated murder. In similar cases in other countries the Law often argues that ‘given the severe and sustained nature of the assault, he must have foreseen the risk of death, that is, that he had legal intention to kill’, which the defence team will seek to prove.
The defendant has the option of a partial defence of provocation, that he had completely lost his self-control like any reasonable person would. If found guilty, he could face a lesser crime of culpable homicide.