Se­rial rapists con­victed on 42 counts

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

“IT IS three years later and my eyes still fill with tears when I think of how I was raped. No one will un­der­stand how it re­ally feels to be so hu­mil­i­ated and re­duced to a piece of trash. It does some­thing to you that you can­not de­scribe.”

One of more than 30 vic­tims of two Soshanguve se­rial rapists was de­scrib­ing how their crime had made her feel.

The pair were con­victed in the Pre­to­ria High Court of 42 counts of rape be­tween them yes­ter­day. Sa­muel Ngobeni, 42, and Jef­frey Tsoku, 40, were also con­victed on a com­bined 33 charges of rob­bery.

They ad­mit­ted to their reign of ter­ror be­tween 2013 and 2016 in Soshanguve, Ross­lyn and Brits.

Their vic­tims worked ei­ther in Won­der­park, Kolon­nade or at restau­rants and food out­lets in Brits.

Taxis were scarce when the women fin­ished work, so they re­lied mostly on lifts at des­ig­nated points. Ngobeni and Tsoku, trav­el­ling in Ngobeni’s car, would stop and of­fer them a lift.

Along the way, they would drive to a de­serted spot, where they tied the women up and threat­ened them ei­ther with a firearm, pep­per spray or a knife.

One or both would rape their vic­tim af­ter rob­bing them of their pos­ses­sions. The naked and fright­ened women were left stranded in the bushes in the dark.

Both men elected not to tes­tify, but af­ter it be­came ap­par­ent they could each face sev­eral life im­pris­on­ment sen­tences for their deeds, Ngobeni changed his mind.

The 42-year-old said it was only by the grace of God that he was ar­rested be­fore he turned into a killer.

“I am so grate­ful to God that he caused me to be ar­rested be­fore I killed some­one. I could have stood here with blood of my hands,” Ngobeni said.

He apol­o­gised to his vic­tims, who filled the pub­lic gallery.

Asked by his ad­vo­cate why he had raped and robbed his vic­tims, Ngobeni said: “I still ask my­self the same ques­tion.

“I was not brought up this way. I am still sur­prised at what kind of devil made me do this.”

Ngobeni said he was also grate­ful that God “took him out of a dark place and put him in this lighter place”.

As a fa­ther of three daugh­ters he feared some­one would do the same to them, he said, while as­sur­ing the court that he had seen his wrongs of the past and that he was now on the right path.

“I have al­ready for­given my­self, I now want my vic­tims to for­give me,” he said.

Ngobeni said he had pleaded guilty to all the charges be­cause he did not want to pro­long the pain of his vic­tims, who would then still have to tes­tify about their or­deals, adding: “I wanted to spare them that.”

The vic­tims all said that be­ing raped had left them dev­as­tated and that they still ex­pe­ri­enced night­mares.

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