Durban - A Metered-taxi driver who allegedly preyed on women hitch-hikers in the Midlands, robbing and raping them after offering them a lift, fired his legal aid attorney in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday - because she is a woman.
A 44-year-old man from Table Mountain is charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery with aggravated circumstances, and two counts of rape.
His trial was due to begin on Tuesday, but he asked Judge Kobus Booyens to postpone the matter for four weeks to allow him time to raise funds so he could appoint his own advocate.
This is the fourth time he has requested an adjournment. The requests have been for various reasons.
Judge Booyens refused the request and told him the legal aid advocate was sufficient to represent him.
However, the man told the judge that if he was being forced to use a legal aid advocate, he wanted to “forget” about Pauline Andrews and be appointed a male legal representative, preferably a “black’ or “white” man. Andrews is coloured. “This woman does not understand me,” he said.
The judge repeated that Andrews was perfectly competent and that an accused was not entitled to choose the identity, race or sex of the legal aid practitioner who was tasked with representing him.
The rape accused insisted he was not willing to proceed with Andrews as his advocate.
Judge Booyens adjourned the case to Wednesday to ascertain whether the legal aid board was able to appoint another counsel for him.
According to the indictment, the man was employed as a metered-taxi driver in the Pietermaritzburg area and would regularly drive to and from Greytown in the scope of his duties.
It was between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown that he allegedly picked up female hitch-hikers and robbed and raped them. He also allegedly carried a firearm.
On the morning of February 26, the accused offered a lift to a chemist’s 22-year-old assistant in Greytown. The woman had been hitch-hiking to Pietermaritzburg.
At New Hanover, he allegedly left the main road and drove her to an isolated spot in a forested area where he threatened her with his gun. At this point he took all the woman’s money and then forced her back into his taxi.
The driver then allegedly drove the woman to a deserted area in Copesville, Pietermaritzburg, where at gunpoint he demanded that she undress. He then allegedly raped her.
Afterwards he fled, leaving his traumatised victim naked and alone.
His second alleged victim was attacked on the morning of her son’s funeral.
The 28-year old woman, who worked in Ulundi, had returned to her home in Greytown to care for her terminally ill son in January 2012.
He died barely a month after her arrival and on February 5, 2012, she buried him. After the funeral, she was hitch-hiking to Pietermaritzburg when the accused allegedly offered her a lift.
He drove her to the Cascades Mall in Chase Valley for her to withdraw money from an ATM to pay him. He then allegedly offered to drive her to Durban so that she was able to get transport back to Ulundi.
The woman accepted his offer, but instead of being taken to Durban, the driver allegedly drove her to a deserted area in Manderstone, near Camperdown, where he threatened to “blow her brains out” if she did not comply with his instructions.
At Manderstone, he allegedly stole all the woman’s cash and her cellphone and tied her legs together. He pushed her back into the car and drove her to a sugar cane field where he raped her at gunpoint.
The indictment reads that he allegedly raped his two victims knowing full well that he had Aids. It has not been revealed at this stage whether he infected his victims.