The man alleged to have raped a 94-year-old woman in front of her 10-year-old grandson has been denied bail.
Ntuthuko Ndlela, 28, who has a string of previous convictions, denied any involvement in the rape and told magistrate Verushka Jamuna and a packed New Hanover Magistrate’s Court gallery yesterday that he intended pleading not guilty to all the charges.
Ndlela, of Haniville, is charged with housebreaking with intent to rape and the rape of the 94-year-old woman in her home in the Swayimane area on July 21, as well as two further charges of the sexual assault and robbery of a 47-year-old woman on July 10.
The State also alleges that on July 10, Ndlela attacked a 47-year- old as she walked along a road in Swayimane, and dragged her into a secluded plantation where he tried to rape her. The woman is said to have vehemently resisted and Ndlela fled, taking her cellphone.
Dressed in a white T-shirt and navy-blue track pants, Ndlela at first tried to evade the horde of media inside the court, but later gave up as cameras continued to flash in his face.
The icy weather did not deter a large contingent of protestors from attending court, with both the prosecutor, Jabulani Maphumulo, and magistrate Jamuna commenting that the court gallery “has never been this full”.
Also present were ANC leaders Sihle Zikalala and Msunduzi mayor, Chris Ndlela.
Testifying in opposition to Ndlela’s bail application was Brigadier Clifford Marion.
He said detectives were investigating further charges that could be brought against Ndlela.
The brigadier expressed his fear that if released on bail, Ndlela would evade justice, as he had done on previous occasions.
Ndlela has four previous convictions of housebreaking with intent to steal and malicious damage to property in 2006, theft and contempt of court.
It was revealed that his contempt of court conviction came about as a result of his being released on bail and not attending court for his trial on the housebreaking charge.
Ndlela was arrested again for theft in February and released on parole at the end of March.
He has also been charged with seven cases of housebreaking in Mountain Rise, Pietermaritzburg.
Marion confirmed that police had established that Ndlela used various aliases and birth dates upon his arrests and was, therefore, difficult to track.
Marion said he had also witnessed the community’s outrage at the rape and could not guarantee Ndlela’s safety if he was released.
It was also confirmed that Ndlela was not formally employed and had no assets. He is unmarried and has an 8-year-old son with his live-in girlfriend.
The court heard that Ndlela had been positively identified by the victims in an identity parade and investigators were awaiting DNA results from the forensic laboratory in Pretoria.
Testifying in support of his bid for bail, Ndlela said his girlfriend was ill and could not work and therefore he was the sole supporter of their child.
He denied that he committed the crimes and said that if released on bail, he would move to Durban so that the community could not get to him.
Ndlela also alleged that he had been assaulted by police who demanded he confess to the rape charge.
Refusing bail, Jamuna said it was clear that Ndlela had a very strong case to answer to and, if convicted, faced a lengthy term of imprisonment.
Jamuna said that after considering all the evidence, she did not believe that releasing Ndlela on bail would be in the interest of justice.
He was remanded in custody until August 23.
Scores of Swayimane community members, who were transported by taxis to the New Hanover court, expressed their relief and satisfaction that Ndlela had not been granted bail.
“He belongs in jail. The community must feel safe,” said Swayimane resident, Joyce Mdlalose.
The ANC has welcomed the decision to deny Ndlela bail. - Daily News