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Johannesburg - She sat alone and far way from everyone else in the gallery. Her seat was just opposite the accused’s box, where her father and brother are usually seated.
Given her small frame, she seemed to disappear into the bench, with just her head protruding.
Her father, Alexandra resident Booi Makhubela, 50, together with his son Rodgers, 26, have been on trial since October at the Johannesburg High Court.
The duo are facing 39 charges that include 17 of rape and others of kidnap, assault and robbery.
Both have pleaded not guilty on all counts.
Like everyone else in court on Monday, she heard the clanking of chains as her father and brother walked from the holding cells below to the dock.
Makhubela spotted her immediately. He smiled. She told him that she had brought him pictures of his grandchildren.
“But I don’t see a picture of you when you were little,” Makhubela said. She pointed to one of the pictures, and her father nodded.
“I am scared,” she said in a soft, strained voice. She turned her back against her father in an attempt to hide the tears in her eyes.
“Don’t be afraid. It is all right. Don’t cry,” Makhubela said, struggling to reach his daughter’s hand because of the gallery bench separating them.
She nodded, desperately, as if she wanted to believe her father’s words - despite the seeming odds against them.
However, Judge Ronald Sutherland rejected Makhubela and Rodgers’s respective versions of events that the 10 complainants had been “sex workers, and in some cases the sex was recreational in exchange for transportation”.
He accepted the medical reports, DNA evidence, the identity parade, the accounts of collaborative witnesses and the critical evidence as submitted by the complainants.
During the summation, the father and son both looked apprehensive.
Makhubela rubbed his bald head, while Rodgers bowed and tilted his head to the left and right.
In an ironic twist, after the adjournment, Makhubela asked The Star’s reporter to escort his daughter to the Park station taxi rank “so she can be safe”. It is the same rank where he and his son are alleged to have preyed on women.
The verdict was expected on Tuesday.