Cape Town – After two years of delays in an alleged gang rape and kidnapping case, a Ceres man known as “M” was finally able to tell the courts about his ordeal as the trial got under way this week.
The trial against Rodney Beukes, Austin Fritz and Peter John Adams – each facing charges of kidnapping and rape, dating back to 2017 – has been marred by a number of delays, and again this week was postponed to a later date for further investigation and trial.
“M” was motivated to tell his story to the courts in fear of becoming the next homosexual murdered in Ceres, following the death of his friend, David Olyne.
Olyne was found tortured and murdered at a dam in Ceres in 2014. His murderer, Christo Oncke, is serving 17 years for the hate crime.
The constant delays in “M’s” case has sparked outrage among activist groups, including the Triangle Project that has closely supported “M” from Bella Vista. The accused have all pleaded not guilty to all charges.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “They applied for bail (previously) while the matter was in the district court and were denied bail.
“Their trial started on Monday, continued (on Tuesday) and has been postponed to October 8 for further trial.”
Before the recent delay, according to Triangle Project support services manager Sharon Cox, “M” had testified in camera about his second rape allegedly at the hands of the men affiliated to a notorious gang, the Ford Boys, in the area.
Cox said the case, which has been postponed for about eight times, has been traumatic for their client, but through continued support and counselling, and preparing for court, “M” was able to pace himself through his testimony and cross-examination.
“He did an amazing job on the stand and he was amazingly brave.”
She said “M” had lodged a special application to testify in camera, as he feared for his life and felt “extremely fragile, vulnerable and intimidated” after the incidents.
“He lives in the community where the gang resides and this gang has terrorised the community, especially the LGBTI community, for many years.
“Delays and postponements have a great impact on victims. A victim will emotionally, psychologically and physically prepare for trials and when it does not commence on the date set down, the victim has to go through that all again.
“Delays can also often be seen as a means to deter the victim in the hopes that the victim will grow tired of the emotional toll it takes and drop the case.
“Very seldom do men come forward to report rape, but we hope with these cases, men will be more forthcoming to highlight this very serious issue.
“The matter has been handled sensitively and this gives more hope to victims. “We also have the highest hope in the investigating officer in this case,” added Cox.