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Drama at rape and murder trial of Zimbabwean man in PE High Court

By Afikile Lugunya - Jun 11, 2018
Drama at rape and murder trial of Zimbabwean man in PE High Court

Port Elizabeth High Court Judge Jannie Ekseen again had his hands full on Monday morning where rape and murder-accused, Trust Tofa, made another court appearance.

According to the charge sheet read out in court by the procecutor, Jason Thysse, he is facing criminal charges of housebreaking with intent to assault with intent to cause Grievous bodily harm, murder, assault with intent to cause grievous harm, kidnapping, rape in contravention of Section 3 of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 32 of 2007 and rape in contravention of Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 32 of 2007.

When the Judge asked if the Zimbabwean man understood the charges that he is facing and how he wishes to plead, Tofa replied; "My Lord, it's you, who is supposed to know because you are the one saying those things."

He told Judge Eksteen that he refuses to answer anything while there is an "audience" inside the courtroom.

The Judge explained to him that a court is a public institution and no one will be chased out.

"This implies that I came here for the audience and not for the court," tofa retorted.

"I will not plead unless the public gallery vacates."

Tofa further told the Judge that he would not address him while standing up - a customary show of respect, because the two of them are not in agreement.

"I would've been very comfortable answering your questions without the audience."

State procecutor Jason Thysse, then asked that they proceed and proceeded to call the first witness in to the take the stand.

That is when Tofa announced that he no longer wanted to be in the courtroom and summarily stood up and left the dock.

Judge Eksteen placed it on the court's records that the accused didn't want to be present, thefore the trial would continue without his presence while referring to a relevant act.

The first witness, who cannot be named - and happens to be Tofa's ex-girlfriend, said that Tofa had told her that his surname is Nyawuze while they were dating.

After their relationship ended, she began to see another Zimbabwean man, Godfrey Kumire.

She alleged that between the 17th and the 18th of November 2016, she was asleep in a front room with Kumire, who died from the wounds sustained after he was allegedly severely assaulted by Tofa with an iron rod.

Tofa had apparently forcefully entered the couple's home after kicking open their kitchen door after they refused to open for him when he knocked.

At this account, Tofa shouted that she was lying and entered the courtroom again and telling Judge Elasteen that he was coming back to listen to the State's witness.

While the witness took the court back to the day when she was brutally beaten up and later kidnapped and raped by Tofa after watching the severe assault on her late boyfriend, Tofa kept interrupting her saying she was telling lies and hurling insults at her.

"My Lord, I want to go smoke because I'm getting stressed here," he told Judge Eksteen after some time.

The Judge asked Tofa to stop interrupting unless he has something to place on record.

The trial was adjourned to 14:15 for the witness to continue. 

How it happened:

It is the State's case that in November 2016, Tofa went to his ex-girlfriend's home in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, armed with an iron rod and a knife and allegedly kicked down her front door.

He allegedly then assaulted her after finding her asleep before turning on her new boyfriend, Godfrey Kumire, whom he also brutally assaulted with the iron rod.

Tofa apparently stabbed another female occupant in the house, before he dragged his ex-girlfriend to a shack where he allegedly raped her twice.

Kumire died from injuries sustained during the brutal assault.

Tofa was arrested for murder, housebreaking, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and rape.

During a previous court appearance, he had a lengthy argument with Judge Mandela Makaula demanding that the Judge orders that he be unchained after he appeared before the court in leg irons, waist chains and handcuffs.

Tofa also demanded that he be extradited back to Zimbabwe, where he claimed he will not be treated like an animal.

He has already fired two of his defence attorneys.