An elderly KwaZulu-Natal woman said she could finally relax a little, almost seven years after she was raped at gunpoint by a young man.
The woman had lost all hope of her attacker being caught, and had had nightmares about being confronted by him again.
But on December 2011, the man described as a “monster” by the policeman who tracked him down, was arrested for the rape of three more victims.
Serial rapist Delani Ngqulunga, now 29, was recently given nine life sentences for having repeatedly raped a 10-year-old girl, a 17-year-old girl, and a 39-year-old woman.
For the 2005 rape of the 73-year-old Wembezi, Estcourt, woman, Ngqulunga was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
He was sentenced to a further 65 years for other offences, including assaults, robberies and kidnapping.
Speaking to the Daily News at her home yesterday, the woman said Ngqulunga had taken away her dignity.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said. “It was in 2005 and I had been on a taxi home from work when the taxi broke down.”
She said it had been after 6pm and another taxi had been sent for them.
“By the time I got off at my bus stop it was dark. As I walked towards my home, I saw this young man approach me and before I knew it, he had a gun to my face,” she said.
Ngqulunga had punched her repeatedly in her eyes and face up to a point where she was struggling to see, she said. She was then forced to walk up towards nearby mountains and made to stop at the site of a church that was being built.
“Along the way, I had dropped my phone so he would not take it,” she recalled.
Her assailant ordered her to lie on the ground, and when she refused, “he beat me up”, she said. She then complied.
“I cried very loudly, hoping my children would hear me, but they didn’t and he raped me.”
Ngqulunga thereafter took her bag, but did not find anything inside.
He then searched his victim, found R100 she had hidden in her bra, and fled.
“I managed to get up and stumble home as it was not far,” she said. “My kids were shocked to see my face swollen.” They had not heard her cries for help because the television was on loud.
After the police were called, the woman was taken to hospital.
“The shame I felt at the thought of my children knowing I was raped at my age hurt me,” she said. “I could not even look at them.”
She quit her job because she feared the worst when it got dark.
Over the years, the woman said she prayed that one day Ngqulunga would be caught.
“I did not know what he looked like and every day when it got dark it was a nightmare,” she said. “I would rather come across an animal than a man. I was, and still am, afraid of men.”
Seeing Ngqulunga in court for the first time since the brutal attack made her cry uncontrollably. “I just did not know what to do after so many years and I truly believe God heard my cries,” she said. “As for him, he looked evil and when I testified he killed me with his eyes. The man has no heart at all.”
The woman said she was at peace now knowing that Ngqulunga was in jail. “I can now rest. Yes, I can’t take away the memories, but, at least, now I can move on with my life and I thank God and the police.
“The law really does have a long arm,” she said.
“No one can hide forever. I’m a witness to that.”