Ques­tion­ing gets too much

Al­leged rape vic­tim and mom break down dur­ing her cross-ex­am­i­na­tion

Daily Dispatch - - News - TEMBILE SGQOLANA tem­biles@dis­patch.co.za

A 14-year-old al­leged rape vic­tim and her mother broke down dur­ing re-ex­am­i­na­tion by de­fence at­tor­ney Mkhangeli Nqayana at the hu­man traf­fick­ing and rape trial of four Whit­tle­sea women and a for­eign na­tional at the Ko­mani re­gional court on Fri­day.

Xolelwa Garhishe, Yolanda Klaas, Zin­tle Tom and Nwabisa Kaziwa stand ac­cused of hu­man traf­fick­ing for al­legedly pros­ti­tut­ing the child to dif­fer­ent men in Whit­tle­sea in 2016, while Harun Mo­hammed faces a rape charge.

While re­spond­ing to Nqayana’s ques­tions, the al­leged vic­tim oc­ca­sion­ally looked up to stop the tears from rolling down her face.

When asked whether she re­mem­bered the men she was al­legedly pros­ti­tuted to, she cov­ered her face with her hand and cried, while her mother cried in the gallery. The court then ad­journed for five min­utes.

“My clients say you chose to lie about them af­ter they beat you and you de­cided to lie and say they were pros­ti­tut­ing you,” he said. The girl said the ac­cused had sold her to the for­eign na­tion­als and had kept her hostage.

“I re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice and they were ar­rested. They were charged with drunk and dis­or­derly and were later re­leased the fol­low­ing day. I don’t know why they were re­leased. Garhishe and Tom beat me, ac­cus­ing me of ly­ing about them,” she said.

She said the four ac­cused had taken her to Mo­hammed, who al­legedly raped her be­hind a ship­ping con­tainer out­side his shop. “This hap­pened at night and I saw his face when he was in his shop,” she said.

State pros­e­cu­tor Nkosi­nathi Faxa asked the court to post­pone the case for the doc­tor who had ex­am­ined the child, to tes­tify.

Faxa said the state would close its case af­ter the doc­tor’s tes­ti­mony.

The trial was post­poned to Novem­ber 26 and 27.

Out­side the court, the girl’s mother said she was grate­ful for the emo­tional sup­port they had re­ceived from politi­cians, chil­dren’s rights ac­tivists and re­li­gious lead­ers.

“This has been a painful week to us as my child kept on cry­ing every time she came from court. I thank God for the sup­port,” she said.

So­cial de­vel­op­ment MEC Phumza Dyan­tyi said : “She asked for peo­ple to pray for the four ac­cused as they also need help. This young girl is strong. This is painful and we will sup­port this child.”

Pic­ture: TEMBILE SGQOLANA

TAK­ING A STAND: So­cial de­vel­op­ment MEC Phumza Dyan­tyi at­tends the court case of four women ac­cused of sell­ing a 14-year-old girl for sex to six men in Whit­tle­sea in 2016.

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