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Johannesburg - Thirteen months after the Constitutional Court found the police minister liable for the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a police officer, another officer has appeared in court on rape charges.
This time, there is not just one victim. The constable has been charged with 14 counts of rape, some allegedly committed while he was in uniform.
Constable Mokolo Molekwa also faces 14 counts of kidnapping and nine of robbery. He appeared on the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The alleged crimes are believed to have occurred in 2011 and last year.
Twelve of the alleged rapes are said to have taken place in the Ekurhuleni and Joburg areas and one in Hammanskraal. The charges also include an attempted rape, reported in Limpopo.
In one of the alleged incidents, in July, two women were picked up by two men, described as policemen, on their way to a team-building event. Molekwa is alleged to have raped one of them, who was 18 years old, after they were left alone in the car.
The teenager reported the alleged rape at the Katlehong police station on the same day.
Before this incident, there was an alleged attempted rape in Limpopo on April 18. Molekwa was arrested, but was released after the victim dropped the charges. The woman alleged she had been grabbed at gunpoint and dragged into the bushes, but escaped.
On July 8, three men – alleged to have been Molekwa and two friends – gave a woman a lift from Polokwane to Hammanskraal. It is alleged that the three men raped the 27-year-old woman and took her bank card to withdraw money.
Molekwa and two other men appeared in the Hammanskraal Periodical Court in September in connection with this incident. Molekwa was denied bail. The other two men were granted R5 000 bail each.
Molekwa is also alleged to have raped four people in Rabie Ridge, two in Tembisa, one in Sandringham and another in Honeydew.
He is also said to have raped three people in Olifantsfontein in 2011 and last year.
“In some of the instances he was (allegedly) wearing his uniform and was on duty,” said Moses Dlamini, spokesman for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. The directorate investigates allegations against police.
Molekwa was not asked to plead when he appeared briefly before Magistrate Vincent Pienaar on Tuesday.
Pienaar told Molekwa that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had decided to move the trial to the Johannesburg High Court.
The trial has been set down for July 31 to August 12.
The magistrate asked if Molekwa’s attorney, who was absent from the court on Tuesday, would be representing him at the high court.
“I don’t know,” said the policeman.
The magistrate told Molekwa he had the option to apply for legal aid.
He also asked Molekwa whether he would have any witnesses during the trial.
“Yes. I will have two witnesses,” he said.
Molekwa was served with documents from the DPP giving the 37 charges against him.
“The allegations are set out in this document… it’s a summary of facts,” said Pienaar.
The document also has a list of 47 State witnesses who are to be called during the trial.
The witnesses include complainants, doctors and police officers.
Molekwa is to remain in custody and be transferred to the Johannesburg Prison from Pretoria Central Prison, where he has been kept since his arrest in July.