Al­leged rapists caught on CCTV at mall

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MPILETSO MOTUMI

TWO SUS­PECTS who al­legedly tar­get women us­ing pub­lic trans­port, es­pe­cially taxis, have been iden­ti­fied.

Gaut­eng po­lice are now of­fer­ing a re­ward for any in­for­ma­tion that may lead to the ar­rest of the sus­pects, who are be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble for the kid­nap­ping, se­rial rapes and rob­beries of women minibus taxi com­muters across the prov­ince.

Since March, sev­eral cases have been re­ported in parts of Soweto, in­clud­ing Mead­ow­lands, Klip­town, Protea Glen and Dob­sonville. Cases have also been re­ported in Booy­sens, the CBD, Rose­bank, Al­ber­ton, Ger­mis­ton, Langlaagte and Hon­ey­dew.

Po­lice spokesper­son Colonel Lun­gelo Dlamini said more than 20 cases were un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The two sus­pects were iden­ti­fied through CCTV cam­eras at a Joburg mall (the spe­cific one is known to The Star) af­ter a vic­tim re­ported what had hap­pened to her.

“Po­lice are ap­peal­ing to any­one who may be able to iden­tify these sus­pects to come for­ward with any in­for­ma­tion,” Dlamini said.

The sus­pects’ modus operandi is to at­tack vic­tims af­ter they board a taxi. Vic­tims are threat­ened with a firearm, then robbed of their be­long­ings and raped in se­cluded ar­eas while the ve­hi­cle is mov­ing.

Dlamini said the pro­vin­cial po­lice com­mis­sioner had es­tab­lished a team of de­tec­tives from the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences Unit to in­ves­ti­gate the cases, some of which date back to March last year.

“In some of the cases that have been re­ported re­cently, the minibus taxi would have a pas­sen­ger, in­clud­ing a woman. Once the vic­tim boarded the taxi, the woman, who might be an ac­com­plice, would then alight be­fore the vic­tim or vic­tims are at­tacked. Some of the vic­tims are men, who are robbed at gun­point once they have boarded the taxi.”

Dlamini said four sus­pects had been ar­rested so far and their cases were on the court roll at the Klip­town, Joburg and Protea courts.

“A sus­pect ap­pear­ing at the Protea Mag­is­trate’s Court had been linked to two crimes com­mit­ted in Jab­u­lani and Dob­sonville.

“There are also sev­eral leads that are be­ing fol­lowed, as some of the sus­pects are be­lieved to be taxi driv­ers work­ing for cer­tain taxi as­so­ci­a­tions.”

The Star had pre­vi­ously re­ported on sev­eral in­ci­dents where a gang of men in a white Quan­tum minibus were pick­ing up women in and around Soweto and then rob­bing and rap­ing them.

The #Tax­iRape hash­tag started trend­ing in March as more peo­ple came for­ward with their sto­ries.

In one in­ci­dent, a woman shared her story of how she was raped for sev­eral hours on the back seat of a taxi while her 10-year-old son was forced to watch. In an­other in­ci­dent, it was al­leged that a gang had raped nine women in one day.

In an­other re­ported case, an 18-year-old Grade 12 pupil man­aged to es­cape from a Quan­tum taxi gang af­ter be­ing as­saulted by three men while trav­el­ling from Dob­sonville to Florida. The girl jumped out of the mov­ing ve­hi­cle and opened a case of as­sault at Florida po­lice sta­tion.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent, a taxi hit Lun­gelo Buthelezi and an al­ter­ca­tion en­sued between his friend Jeanette Cindi-Mabit­sela and the oc­cu­pants of the taxi. Dur­ing the al­ter­ca­tion, the taxi men al­legedly bun­dled them into their ve­hi­cle and drove off to the veld, where they al­legedly took turns to rape her. Cindi-Mabit­sela and Buthelezi were later pelted with stones and then set alight. Both of them died from their in­juries.

Dlamini said po­lice were ap­peal­ing to any­one with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

WANTED: Two men sus­pected of kid­nap­ping, rob­bing and rap­ing women us­ing pub­lic trans­port in and around Joburg.

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