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Johannesburg - Thirty-five under-age girls and three women have probably been infected with HIV after being raped – and, as a result, the alleged serial rapist will not only face sexual assault charges but also multiple attempted murder charges.
The 35-year-old man appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, dressed in a khaki jacket and khaki cargo pants.
He is accused of being the Thokoza serial rapist, with his reign of terror over the Alberton area lasting just over five years. His first alleged rape was in January 2006 and the last before his arrest took place in February 2011.
Outside the court, investigating officer Warrant Officer Mokupu Madei said the charges included the kidnapping and rape of 38 girls and women. Only three of the victims were older than 18 when they were raped.
The accused stood before a packed court of members of the public, the media, Women and Men Against Child Abuse and the ANC Women’s League.
The State prosecutor, Advocate Joyce Xakaza, read out the 100 charges.
The crimes he is charged with include kidnapping, rape, sexually assaulting a minor, attempted murder, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and, lastly, robbery with aggravating circumstances.
There was a loud gasp from the public when the first charge of attempted murder was read out and explained. Xakaza said the accused knew of his HIV-positive status before he raped the girls and should therefore be charged with the attempted murder of each victim.
The accused stood while he read along on the charge sheet until his legal aid attorney, JP Venter, requested the court that his client be allowed to sit.
Each of the charges which were read out followed a similar pattern.
He would approach a young girl and get her to a secluded area by gunpoint, knifepoint, force or coercion. The secluded areas most commonly included an open field, a stadium in Thokoza and a shack.
Once in the secluded area, he would allegedly tell them he would stab or shoot them if they tried to flee and would then rape them.
Most of the crimes took place in Thokoza, with others in Katlehong, Vosloosrus and Brackendowns.
The charge of robbery related to the man allegedly robbing one of his victims of her money after he had raped her. The State said police found an unlicensed firearm and ammunition at his residence when they arrested him, which explained the charge of illegal possession of arms and ammunition.
When the 100th charge had been read out, the crowd gasped and people whispered to each other.
Magistrate Janice Saulse set the date for plea and trial from July 22 to October 31, 2013, in the Johannesburg High Court.
The accused was transferred on Thursday from Boksburg Prison to remain under observation in Krugersdorp Prison’s psychiatric facility for 30 days.
At the end of the 30 days, the prison will give a psychological report on him and prison authorities will decide where to keep him in custody, although Madei said it was likely he would be moved closer to Joburg.
He will remain in custody until at least the end of his trial.
While being led back down to his holding cell, the accused whispered something to an elderly woman in the front row of the public gallery before walking down the stairs.
Outside the court, the ANCWL gathered and held up signs which read “Serial rapist, this is where you belong. JAIL, JAIL, JAIL”.
The Star Africa