‘State stopped me from retracting rape case’

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Kimberley - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Kimberley has refused to withdraw a case of rape against a 24-year-old man on the basis that the incident took place during Women’s Month.

This information came out on Wednesday in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court when the 25-year-old complainant in the matter, testified that “the State would not let me withdraw the case because the incident happened during Women’s Month”.

“I want to withdraw this case because I was misled by my sister to open it. I have, on several occasions, attempted to do this but the State is refusing to withdraw (the matter) on the basis that it happened during Women’s Month,” the complainant testified.

The complainant is in a two-year relationship with the accused, Bonolo Tlhomelang, and they had been residing together in their shack in Galeshewe when the alleged rape and assault occurred on August 12.

The complainant was responding to questions put to her by both Tlhomelang’s legal representative, Mark Fletcher, and by the State prosecutor, Thelma Maseko.

The matter was before the court for a formal bail application and the complainant made it clear that she would not oppose Tlhomelang’s bail application.

“I love him, I made a mistake when I went to open that charge. The fact that I tried to withdraw it (the charge) the very next day should indicate to the State that I made a mistake on this matter.

“I would be happy if the court granted the accused bail because I want him back at home. I’m not afraid that he will again do what he did to me then (allegedly attack and rape her); because it was the first time that he behaved in that manner. In fact, he was drunk and had smoked something that day and that is why I think he behaved that way.” She pointed out that Tlhomelang also looked after her child. “My baby needs a father in her life. That is why I want him released from jail.”

Asked by the magistrate, Brenda Roodt, why Tlhomelang allegedly attacked and raped her, the complainant responded that “perhaps he was angry because I had spoken to the father of my child (the complainant’s ex-boyfriend)”.

Although details as to how the alleged incident occurred did not come out in court on Wednesday, the complainant said that she was not badly injured during the incident.

“I only sustained minor bruises and one bite mark on my upper left arm during the incident,” she said.

However, the doctor’s report, which Maseko read out in court, points to injuries to her left eye, cheeks, arm, back and her shoulders.

“I was also drunk during this incident and I think I fell a couple of times, that is why I had those injuries. They are not as a result of the accused’s attack,” the complainant said.

“What is really the reason behind your decision to withdraw the case? Did he promise you something,” Maseko asked the compliant.

“No, they did not promise me anything,” she answered.

As the compliant spoke, Tlhomelang kept looking at her and occasionally looked up at the roof of the courtroom.

The court could not complete the bail application due to time constraints and Roodt postponed the matter to September 3.

A family member of Tlhomelang, who did not want to provide his name, said that it was “unfortunate that the court has to force an innocent woman to do what she does not want to do”.

“Is the State then going to force her into the witness box and tell her to lie? What kind of evidence will she be expected to share with the court, because she has already made it clear that she does not want to go through with this matter? I think the State is wrong and should not be continuing with this matter at all,” he added.

Tlhomelang appeared to suspect that his case was being postponed due to sabotage by the police who are investigating the case and he launched into a tirade, accusing the police of “trying everything they can to drag the matter out for longer than necessary, because in 2012 they (police) took me to a veld where they assaulted someone and they later framed me for this assault”.

Roodt had to assure him that the postponement of the case had nothing to do with the police but was rather being postponed due to time running out.

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