Johannesburg - They watched as she entered court, their heads turning with every step she took towards the witness box.
As the 17 pairs of eyes stared at her, the 32-year-old woman kept her gaze on the floor. She was one of the many victims of the so-called Golf Club Gang that allegedly terrorised the community of Freedom Park several years ago.
Thabo Padi, 29; Tebogo Manenje, 21; Tshepo Makhele, 35; Tumelo Makgatho, 25; Thabiso Motau, 26; Lucas Sihle Dayi, 21; Sifiso Dayi, 21; Thomas Magezi, 37; Donald Tshiboho, 29; Ndivhuwo Matshisa, 27; Mabaso Khosa, 22; Lawrence Hilario, 22; Mongezi Xaba, 24; Joseph Buthelezi, 24; Khonjiwe Madonsela, 25; Petros Mokoena, 32; and an 18-year-old who has since turned State witness are alleged to have been part of the gang.
Armed with golf clubs, they allegedly assaulted their victims, robbed and raped them. By the time the reign of terror was brought to an end by the police, a man was dead, and several people were paralysed and others seriously injured. In addition, a 13-year-old had given birth to her rapist’s baby. Many women had been raped.
Speaking softly, the mother-of-two related the events of May 21 when her boyfriend was allegedly assaulted and she was raped by two of the alleged gang members, Manenje and Sihle Dayi.
However, a few minutes into her testimony at the Johannesburg High Court, which is sitting at Palm Ridge Court, she was overcome with emotion. The judge adjourned the matter so she could compose herself. As she left the court in tears, some of the accused burst into laughter.
On her return, the woman said she and her boyfriend were out walking at around 9pm when Sihle Dayi and Manenje robbed them of their cellphones.
Manenje allegedly struck her boyfriend. She did not see where he was struck or with what. “I heard a sound similar to a gunshot or a rock hitting someone, and started screaming,” she said.
Sihle Dayi allegedly dragged her towards a nearby church and threatened to shoot her. She said Manenje raped her, and, as he did, Sihle Dayi had one of his feet over her eyes so she wouldn’t see her rapist. When he was done, she said, Sihle Dayi raped her while Manenje covered her eyes with his foot.
Asked by prosecutor advocate Lawrence Xaba how the attack affected her life, she said she had been unable to sleep after the rape and had left Gauteng. She lives in Cape Town, but came back to Joburg to testify.
“I would sit on the bed, not able to fall asleep. I only started sleeping after relocating.”
She is also no longer with her boyfriend, who also relocated.
“Since the incident, I can’t focus or concentrate. I’m filled with anger, and when I look at my children, I feel pain on their behalf,” she said.
The trial continues.