Ricochet News

Case against alleged NMU rapist postponed to next year

By Afikile Lugunya - Dec 13, 2017
Case against alleged NMU rapist postponed to next year

The case against a Port Elizabeth man, who allegedly raped a 25-year-old Nelson Mandela University female student and stabbed another in an attack at the university's 2nd Avenue Campus computer labs in October, again suffered a postponement in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, where it emerged that the he now has legal aid.

It has been three months since the man, who cannot be named because he hasn’t pleaded yet in court, first appeared before the court and said he wished to plead guilty to the charges.

However, he could not plead as the case suffered several postponements. His new legal aid lawyer has since advised him against pleading guilty.

The case was postponed to the 25th of January 2018 to allow for further investigations. These investigations include a forensic report of the crime scene.

At his last hearing, the State made an application to have the 29-year-old undergo a medical examination to ascertain his HIV status, which was granted by the court as the man agreed under oath.

The results were not avaible at Wednesday's hearing. 

Arrested

The 29-year-old rape suspect was arrested by the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit in Port Elizabeth, assisted by SAPS Humewood and PE Flying Squad.

According to Port Elizabeth police, the suspect was nabbed along Govan Mbeki Avenue, in Central, Port Elizabeth, in possession of the computer and the cell phone.

He has been charged with rape and robbery.

Apparently, he has a previous conviction for robbery under grievous circumstances.

'He used students so that he could get to prison'

Speaking for the students, NMU Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Pedro Mzileni, said that he had received a report about the two women's health and confirmed that they are being looked after and supported by the NMU.

"The two students are receiving care from the side of counselling and from the side of health. They are also speaking with the law enforcement, police and lawyers," he described.

Commenting on the man's willingness to plead guilty Mzileni said that it would seem he is someone, who wanted to go to prison, and used the attack on the two women to do just that.

"From our side, it looks like this guy is a very experienced criminal and someone, who wanted to go to prison.

"But now what saddens us is that he is using students - black students in particular," he explained. 

"Those students came to the institution to try and improve their backgrounds, so for him to come and take advantage of that is very sad.

"I hope that the court can play a role and give him a sentence that he truly deserves."

Protests

The rape incident resulted in the university cancelling classes last week as the South African Students Congress (SASCO) at the Nelson Mandela University led a student protest.

The protesters claimed that security guards were listening to radio and not watching the CCTV camera monitors when the incident happened.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, also condemned the crime and called for the police to do all they can to bring the suspect to book.

DASO on Tuesday also outlined several steps that it said would address security concerns at the university. It also called for and held a night vigil at the 2nd Avenue Campus.