‘SAPS PRO­TEC­TION FOR RAPE VIC­TIMS’

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE South African Po­lice Ser­vices (SAPS) has promised full se­cu­rity and pro­tec­tion to vic­tims who come for­ward to tes­tify against al­leged South African se­rial rapist, Mo­kena Nh­lapo.

South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) Cap­tain Zweli Mo­ho­beledi made the un­der­tak­ing af­ter only five Ba­sotho women re­sponded to an ap­peal by South African gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials for vic­tims to come for­ward with their tes­ti­monies on Thurs­day.

Ba­sotho had been asked to visit the South African High Com­mis­sion of­fices in Maseru on Thurs­day to tes­tify against the 39-year-old Nh­lapo who was ar­rested on 1 June this year in Fouries­burg, South Africa by Beth­le­hem FCS De­tec­tives af­ter a women ac­cused him of rap­ing her.

Nh­lapo is be­lieved to have raped many more women af­ter lur­ing them to Fouries­burg with prom­ises to give them money, jobs and ac­com­mo­da­tion in South Africa.

Cap­tain Zweli Mo­ho­beledi, who heads the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, on Fri­day told the Sun­day Ex

press that only five Ba­sotho women heeded the Thurs­day call to tes­tify, adding that more vic­tims should come for­ward to en­able the po­lice build a strong case against the ac­cused.

He said vic­tims should con­tact Beth­le­hem Fam­ily vi­o­lence, child pro­tec­tion, and sex­ual of­fences Unit who can be reached on (+27) 82 854 7546 or call SAPS Crime Stop on (+27) 8600 10111. The SAPS will de­ter­mine the kind of pro­tec­tion they may re­quire.

Nh­lapo was ar­rested af­ter a woman al­leged that he lured her via so­cial me­dia. She said ac­cepted a Face­book in­vi­ta­tion from the sus­pect in Fe­bru­ary this year. She fur­ther al­leged that they met in per­son for the first time in April at a house in Fouries­burg where she was later raped at gun- point.

The ac­cused sub­se­quently ap­peared be­fore the Fouries­burg Mag­is­trates` Court on 4 June on charges of kid­nap­ping, as­sault, point­ing a firearm, traf­fick­ing of per­sons for sex­ual pur­poses, rape, crimen in­juria, ex­tor­tion and il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearm and am­mu­ni­tion.

Cap­tain Mo­ho­beledi said Nh­lapo would reap­pear in court to­mor­row, this time with le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion and he could ap­ply for bail.

As the news of his ar­rest spread, sev­eral al­le­ga­tions were lev­elled against Nh­lapo on so­cial me­dia, amid in­di­ca­tions that some of his vic­tims were from Le­sotho. This prompted SAPS to ar­range last Thurs­day’s visit to record state­ments from vic­tims.

“On Thurs­day we only man­aged to get five state­ments from Le­sotho vic­tims but we need more,” Cap­tain Mo­ho­beledi said.

“We un­der­stand that some may be trau­ma­tised by the whole is­sue and they fear to come for­ward but we need them to ex­plain how they were vic­timised by the ac­cused. If other vic­tims are scared that he will pub­li­cise the videos he took dur­ing the of­fences they should also ex­plain that as it is also a crim­i­nal offence he will charge with.

“The tes­ti­monies will also as­sist us in de­ter­min­ing the kind of pro­tec­tion we may need to pro­vide the vic­tims. We strongly ap­peal to vic­tims to help us build a strong case and solve the mat­ter.”

Nh­lapo would mas­quer­ade as po­ten­tial date on so­cial me­dia only to later rape his vic­tims, usu­ally at gun point.

This pub­li­ca­tion has also seen a sex­u­ally ex­plicit video be­lieved to be taken by the ac­cused with one of Le­sotho’s vic­tims who is also be­lieved to have opened the case. In the video, the lady casts a de­tached look and de­meanour which gives the im­pres­sion that the sex was not con­sen­sual. The man does not show his face but barks in­struc­tions on the sex­ual po­si­tions.

The woman sub­se­quently recorded an­other video which has since been posted to so­cial me­dia plead­ing with other vic­tims to come for­ward with their tes­ti­monies.

One of the vic­tims who spoke to this pub­li­ca­tion on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that she and her friend feared that if Nh­lapo could hunt them down for tes­ti­fy­ing against him.

“Nh­lapho told us that he had friends in the po­lice force and he would come af­ter us if re­ported him. He re­peat­edly threat­ened to shoot us if we at­tempted to es­cape and we fear that if he will come af­ter us if he finds out that we tes­ti­fied against him.”

This vic­tim said that they were lured with prom­ises of em­ploy­ment via a Face­book ac­count bear­ing the name, Boi­tumelo Mo­lapo, who pur­ported to be em­ployed at a med­i­cal cen­tre in South Africa.

“When we crossed into South Africa to meet this Mo­lapo, we were re­ceived by Nh­lapo at the bor­der who made ex­cuses on be­half of his ‘friend’ who could not come to meet us in per­son.

She said on their visit, they were hor­ri­fied to be held hostage at gun­point in Fouries­burg. They were forced to spend an en­tire week­end sex­u­ally pleas­ing the sus­pect. Last year in April, the Sun­day Ex­press’ sis­ter

Le­sotho Times pub­li­ca­tion car­ried a story about Nh­lapo’s al­leged scan­dals. He was ac­cused of dup­ing lo­cal mod­els of thou­sands of mal­oti af­ter promis­ing them mod­el­ling con­tracts and prizes.

He also al­legedly de­manded sex­ual favours from the mod­els he lured to South Africa to en­sure they were awarded the con­tracts. The vic­tims who had spo­ken to this pub­li­ca­tion had re­ported to Fouries­burg po­lice.

Cap­tain Mo­ho­beledi said that even though he was aware of the re­ports, Nh­lapo had not been charged as the vic­tims were no longer forth­com­ing.

“There is a spe­cial team which deals with is­sues of rape and the Fouries­burg po­lice handed over the case to them. How­ever, the case had to be put on hold since the vic­tims could no longer be found. The case is not dead but those who had opened it should come for­ward so that we can con­tinue with it,” Cap­tain Mo­ho­beledi said.

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