Johannesburg - What does the evidence of six women detailing rapes have in common? In Vuledzani Ramulifho’s trial, practically everything.
Similarities in Ramulifho’s modus operandi as detailed by Johannesburg High Court acting Judge Naren Pandya on Thursday were glaring.
A tall, dark man (a taxi driver) with a scar on his face picks up the women, then pepper-sprays them before robbing them of their belongings and raping or sexually assaulting them. He then drops them off at unknown places.
The most glaring aspect to emerge as Judge Pandya went through the second day of recapping evidence against the 26-year-old taxi driver was that all six women had respectively testified that they had pointed Ramulifho out as the perpetrator during an identity parade.
Ramulifho, who lived in Bramfischerville before his arrest in 2010, has denied involvement in the 49 crimes he is charged with. These include kidnapping, extortion and rape of 14 women who allegedly boarded his white Quantum taxi that year.
Summarising the evidence of Pertunia*, Judge Pandya said she had been pepper-sprayed on November 2, 2010
by the taxi driver, who, according to Pertunia, was dark in complexion and had a scar on his face. The two men in the taxi had demanded R4 000. She was ordered to call her mother to deposit the money into her bank account.
After the money was deposited by her frantic mother, the accused allegedly went out to withdraw but could only take out R500, which was her daily limit.
The woman said she was then raped twice by the accused – she had been a virgin, Judge Pandya added.
She was dropped off, blindfolded, at a location she didn’t know.
She later pointed out Ramulifho at an identity parade.
Hlubi’s* testimony of events of November 4 that same year also detailed how she was kidnapped by two men in a white Quantum in Roodepoort. She said the driver was Ramulifho.
When the men said they wanted to rape her, she fought back despite being pepper-sprayed and was released.
She had also seen the accused after the incident and he had tried to hide his face from her – but she had already memorised his taxi’s registration number.
It was later found to be the same registration as the taxi Ramulifho had admitted to being his.
On Wednesday, the court heard the summary of the evidence of six other women, and the details of their ordeals were also similar, and all except one – who didn’t attend the identity parade – pointed out Ramulifho as their assailant.
Judgment continues on Friday.
* Names have been changed to protect identities as per the judge’s order.