If looks could kill, Mpho Rakgwale would have dropped dead from the menacing stares of his alleged rape victims and their parents in court.
However, the 22-year-old man did not turn even once to meet their stares.
Rakgwale, who appeared at the Johannesburg High Court, which is sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, faces multiple charges, including 24 of rape, 16 of kidnapping, five of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one charge of attempted murder.
He allegedly went on a kidnapping, rape and robbery spree during which girls as young as 13 were raped.
In one instance, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped.
The State said Rakgwale and two of his co-perpetrators, who are still at large, were responsible.
According to the indictment, Rakgwale had different modi operandi.
In some instances, he would allegedly approach his young victims and ask about the whereabouts of some people, then rape them.
Another tactic was to approach the girls and tell them he had been sent to kill them.
He would also offer them protection, saying he had a firearm, and would allegedly rape them shortly thereafter.
In other instances, Rakgwale allegedly pretended to be a Good Samaritan. In that case, a 17-year-old girl was robbed by an unknown man and woman as she was returning from shops.
Immediately thereafter, Rakgwale and another man allegedly approached the traumatised girl and offered to help her. Rakgwale then allegedly raped her.
The State says in the indictment that Rakgwale’s reign of terror began in July 2010 when he raped a 16-year-old girl near Dobsonville in Soweto.
He allegedly committed his last rape of 2010 in December and lay low the next year.
Rakgwale is believed to have suddenly resurfaced in May 2012, when a 17-year-old girl was raped at the Dobsonville cemetery, and robbed of her cellphone and school books.
The same day, he allegedly found his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, with a friend. It is alleged that when his ex-girlfriend left, Rakgwale followed the 17-year-old friend home and proclaimed his love for her.
“When she refused his proposal, he became angry and began to pull and drag her towards his house. He also assaulted her and threatened her with a knife,” the indictment says.
“Once inside his house, he instructed her to perform a striptease show for him. When she refused, she was assaulted and dragged to an outside toilet and raped.
“After raping her, he refused to let her go and held her captive in the toilet. She was raped a second time during the course of the night.
“She attempted to escape… (and) was assaulted again and remained in the toilet for the duration of the evening. The following day, the accused accompanied her to her house.”
Rakgwale’s case was postponed to next Tuesday.