Rape accused’s pal tells of drunkenness

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Durban - A friend of the metro policeman accused of raping a young woman in a beachfront hotel says he turned his phone off after the hotel called him to tell him there was a problem, because they would not elaborate - and he was in Durban to enjoy himself.

Paul Mafolo, of Gauteng, also testified in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday to being upset about having to deal with two young drunk women when he had travelled to the city to have a good time.

He had arranged a trip to the Vodacom Durban July with his friends and clients in July 2012.

Ekurhuleni metro policeman Sydney Dhladhla is on trial for allegedly raping a 21-year-old woman while she was passed out in a Holiday Inn Garden Court hotel room.

Dhladhla, 44, has pleaded not guilty, saying the sex was consensual.

Mafolo told the court that he had paid for four rooms at the hotel during the weekend of the Durban July, something he often did to entertain his clients and friends.

He had invited three other men, including Dhladhla, to join him on the 2012 trip.

The court had earlier heard from Lerato Mohatle, Dhladhla’s girlfriend at the time, that she and her friend, the complainant, had joined them on the road trip.

She said she was to stay with Dhladhla, while the complainant was to stay with a friend in Durban.

Mohatle had testified that she had been drinking from the time she left Joburg with the group, and when she arrived at the hotel she remembered feeling sick and passing out in Dhladhla’s hotel room.

She said the complainant was also intoxicated by the time they reached Durban, and was to stay at the hotel because she could not reach her friend.

The court heard that the complainant had vomited and then passed out in Mafolo’s room, and that she had later complained to the hotel that someone had come into the room, had sex with her, and then left. She apparently did not know who it was.

Mohatle said that Dhladhla confessed to sleeping with her friend, but said she had known it was him. He was later arrested by the Point police.

On Thursday, Mafolo said he was not impressed that the complainant had vomited in his room and then passed out. He said he had not wanted her in his room, and had told Dhladhla to sort this out.

It was agreed, he said, that Mohatle and the complainant would stay in one hotel room, and she would fetch her friend once she sobered up.

Mafolo said the complainant was still passed out when the four men went out to a club.

He testified that Dhladhla had later left the group at the club, saying he wanted to sleep.

About 30 minutes to an hour later, Mafolo said he was called by the hotel and told there was a problem in his hotel room.

“I told them I came to Durban to enjoy myself and not to attend to problems. I cut their call because they didn’t want to elaborate on what the problem was, and I then switched off my cellphone,” he said.

Under cross-examination, he confirmed giving Dhladhla his room key in case the door had closed and he needed to move the complainant.

He denied giving Dhladhla his room key because there was an arrangement that the accused was going to sleep with one of the two women.

He also denied receiving, while at the nightclub, a telephone call from Dhladhla asking if he (Mafolo) was interested in the complainant.

Dhladhla’s attorney put it to Mafolo that his client had told Mafolo that the complainant had been making advances on him (Dhladhla), and Dhladhla asked if Mafolo was interested in the young woman.

“Jabu (Dhladhla) had asked me when we arrived in Durban if I was interested in her, and I said: ‘No.’ He noticed me giving her my cellphone and had assumed we were exchanging cellphone numbers, but she was using it to call her friend she met on Facebook and had planned on meeting in Durban,” Mafolo testified.

The trial has been adjourned until August.

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