Cape Town - An Eastern Cape teenager trafficked to Cape Town and forced to marry a man she never knew escaped from her attacker twice before she was rescued, court records show.
The 14-year-old girl’s ordeal started in February 2010 when she was kidnapped from her home in Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape and forced to marry Mvumeleni Jezile, 30. He appeared briefly in the Wynberg Regional Court on Monday.
In a statement to police, the girl said she first escaped on February 12, 2010 – two days after she was taken from her home. Before she was taken from her home, she was dressed in “marriage clothes”. While being held by Jezile, she said “I was brought food, but I refused to eat… He wanted to have sex with me, but I refused. He took a (whip) and beat me.”
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the case against Jezile was the Western Cape’s first case of ukuthwala: the traditional practice of kidnapping a young woman in an attempt to force marriage negotiations.
Ntabazalila said the marriage had been arranged between the girl’s uncle, grandmother and Jezile’s family. After she ran away, the girl’s family took her back to Jezile.
Soon afterwards, Jezile put her in a taxi to Cape Town and followed. The girl said she lived with Jezile at his home in Brown’s Farm, Philippi, and was raped several times. “I never went outside, the burglar gate was always locked.” The girl said Jezile raped her and forced her into submission by beating her with a broomstick, whip and belt. “I ended up doing what he instructed me to do.”
A month later, she asked Jezile’s relatives to leave the security gate open because she wanted to do the washing.
She ran away, boarded a taxi to the Khayelitsha police station and made a statement.
Jezile was arrested and charged with six counts including rape, human trafficking and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, but in November last year, magistrate Daleen Greyvensteyn convicted Jezile of human trafficking, three counts of rape and assault.
Jezile was expected to be sentenced on Monday, but the case could not go ahead because Jezile’s lawyer, advocate Tammy Lendore, had not yet discussed the contents of the pre-sentence reports with him.
The air conditioning system in the courtroom was also problematic
Jezile is due back in court next Friday when the court is expected to hear arguments on whether the media is allowed to report on the sentencing proceedings which have been set down for February 13.