Johannesburg - It was Christmas in 2006 and
they went on the prowl in the streets of Meadowlands in Soweto, looking for women to abduct at gunpoint.
Three women were forced into the car and then taken to a house in Orange Farm, where the trio took turns raping them overnight.
The next day, they forced the women to clean the house and do their laundry before dropping them off in Dube, Soweto.
Seven years later, only one of the three gang members has been convicted. He was sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison.
The other two were never caught.
On Thursday, Court 1 at the Orlando Magistrate’s Court in Soweto was filled to capacity as Tebogo Singo faced the full wrath of the law. His victims, though, were nowhere to be seen.
The 35-year-old sat sunken in the dock as he waited for the proceedings to begin.
He looked over his shoulder, to the gallery, where his sister and her boyfriend sat and asked: “So how are we going to do this?”
Singo was trying to get money from his family a few minutes before his fate would be revealed.
When the magistrate arrived and delivered the sentence, Singo stood upright in his orange jacket and striped collared shirt, his face devoid of emotion.
“The manner in which the complainants were treated by you is shocking… terrorising them for hours, making them do washing and clean your house at gunpoint. The way you casually passed on the complainants to your partners…” magistrate Mohamed Jooma said.
The gallery was filled with court orderlies and other staff members who wanted to witness the finalisation of a case they had followed for years.
Singo was arrested on an unrelated matter in 2007, but, with the help of the victims, the police soon identified him as one of the men behind the gang rape.
In the seven years of trial, Singo had been through four attorneys – a major cause of delays as he kept firing and changing his lawyers. On Thursday, he barely paid notice to his current lawyer, advocate Robin Stransham-Ford, who was trying to reason with him.
“Look, they’re probably going to give you life. Do you want to appeal?” Stransham-Ford asked more than three times, even getting different people to interpret what he was saying to Singo during the adjournment.
In the end, Singo agreed to appeal after his attorney’s prediction proved to be correct.
Singo was sentenced to life imprisonment for three counts of rape, 15 years for robbery with aggravated circumstances and 10 years for two counts of kidnapping.