Cape Town - The State is opposing bail for six men who allegedly held a 16-year-old girl captive for two days in Mbekweni township in Paarl and repeatedly raped her at knifepoint.
The men - Akhona Thatyeka, 24, Mxolisi Nawata, 26, Monde Ngungawu, 20, Jongizizwe Mahlanu, 23, Mbuyisa Plaatjie, 24, and Vusikhaje Mjezu, 28 - have indicated they want to formally apply for bail.
They appeared briefly in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The men have been charged with a schedule six offence for holding the girl in a shack beginning on February 12 and taking turns to rape her.
The State alleges that one of the men - known to the teenager - lured her into his shack under the pretext of a visit.
He then left, locking the girl indoors, saying that it was dangerous outside. When he returned, he had friends with him. When she refused to have sex with the men, one of them threatened her at knifepoint.
A neighbour allegedly told investigators that a number of men had come in and out of the shack.
When the commotion subsided, the neighbour went to investigate and found the teenager.
The girl told investigators that about 10 men had raped her.
Prosecutor Sonwabo Pama said the State would oppose bail based on the seriousness of the offence, the fact that the girl was a minor and because it was alleged to be gang activity.
Outside the court on Monday, a group of protesters demonstrated against the men getting bail. “Don’t be silenced, speak out” and “Don’t look away, act against crime”, two posters read. Police portfolio committee acting chairwoman Annelize van Wyk joined the protesters outside court.
“We want to raise awareness out of a very sad situation. What is society doing and what message is being sent out?
“We cannot expect the police to prevent such instances. We need to stand up against such crimes,” Van Wyk said.
The ANC Women’s League regional secretary, Sindiswa Sambokwe, said the league was also opposed to bail: “We are here to condemn rape and the killing of our children. We are tired of these rapes. Our children are abused and killed for no reason. Enough is enough. Justice must prevail.”
Mbekweni resident Justice Wani said he was “totally against” rape.
“As far as I’m concerned, it is immoral to do something like this.”
The men are due back in court on Tuesday.