DNA a shock, says child rape-accused

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Copy of ST p2sec AccusedRapist572.JPG INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Modise Motapane is due to be sentenced for the kidnap, rape and murder of four-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - An alleged child-rapist has told the court that he doesn’t know how his DNA profile was found on the victim’s underwear and private parts.

This emerged on Thursday in the Johannesburg High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court when the accused, Modise Motapane, took to the witness stand.

Motapane repeatedly denied kidnapping, raping and murdering 4-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala, of Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, on September 8 last year.

He allegedly raped and strangled Keabetswe before hanging her body on a hook on the wall of an abandoned building. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During cross-examination, State prosecutor Jacqueline Steyn, asked Motapane why his DNA samples were found on Keabetswe’s underwear, trousers and her private parts.

“I don’t know,” answered Motapane, visibly shaken.

The court heard that DNA samples taken from the accused positively linked him to the rape.

Post-mortem results revealed that the girl died of the genital and neck injuries.

The State put it to Motapane that the reason he killed Keabetswe was simply because she could have identified him for the rape had she survived.

However, Motapane denied that. He testified that he assisted the family during the search for Keabetswe merely because he was with the girl’s father, Diketso Radebe, at the time the search got under way.

The court also heard that Motapane was known to the girl and her family. He frequently visited his victim’s family.

Earlier this week, Keabetswe’s mother, Keneiwe Tshabalala, told the court that Motapane led the search to the veld and later took them to a building where Keabetswe’s body was found. The family had become worried when Tshabalala could not find her daughter after going out to call her for a bath.

A search, which went on till the next day, ensued, and when Tshabalala eventually found her daughter, she was dead and hooked to a wall of a dilapidated building.

Keabetswe was found wearing her T-shirt half on. Her other clothes were found on the floor, next to her body.

Tshabalala said she had run back home to tell the rest of the family what she had seen.

Judge Majeke Mabesele was expected to hand down judgment on Friday morning. – Additional reporting by Matshidiso Moeti

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