Mlungisi activist group demands harsh sentence for man out on parole
Women protests against GBV at court appearance of accused
“We do not know what men want from us or what we have done to them. Men need to change, they brought us into this world – they are abusing their own children.”
These were the words of Bongiwe Mtola, a resident of R Section in Mlungisi, during a demonstration by women and activists outside the magistrate’s court in Komani on Tuesday morning to call for justice while also marking the start of Women’s Month.
The group called on the court to keep a 38-year-old man incarcerated after he was charged with raping a 22-yearold woman while out on parole for the same offence.
Convicted and sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for rape and 18 months for assault in February 2009, the man, also from Mlungisi, was set free on parole three years ago. His parole was set to expire in 2028.
He was, however, arrested on May 26 this year on rape charges and denied bail in the magistrate’s court in Komani in June.
He appeared again on Tuesday and the protesting residents used national Women’s Month to send a strong message to the court.
The group handed in a petition to the presiding magistrate while the Nokulunga Mercy Victim Empowerment Community Centre, a non-profit organisation focusing on supporting victims of genderbased violence (GBV), submitted a letter calling for a deterrent sentence.
Nokulunga also works with police, the social development, home affairs and correctional services departments and other organisations involved in helping GBV victims.
It also advocates for human rights including the LGBTQI community.
The organisation’s administrator, Sandisiwe Mzamo, who was part of the demonstration, called the attack on the 22-year-old woman a “corrective rape”.
He told The Rep the accused knew the woman was part of the LGBTQI group. The court had also heard during the bail application in June that the woman was a lesbian.
“We believe this is a corrective rape. It is a gruesome offence that is not taken lightly by government. As an organisation we are here to say we believe the accused is guilty and that when he is sentenced, the court should make an example of the perpetrator and send a message to the community that this has severe implications,” Mzamo said.
“We are pleading with the court to sentence the perpetrator to the best of its abilities.”
After he was refused bail, his attorney, Zolile Matiwane, filed an appeal, stating 90% of the arguments by the state were regarding his client’s parole and that the magistrate had erred.
Matiwane said it would be unconstitutional to keep the accused in jail because he had breached his parole conditions.
The department of correctional services had said it was in the process of revoking the man’s parole.
Outside court, the protestors said the man was a danger to society.
Nomzamo Mjila, 59, said children could walk around freely if he was released.
“Even us as elderly people are in danger. He must rot in jail. The justice system must hear us,” she said.
The case was postponed until August 23 for the return of DNA results and bail transcripts.