Johannesburg -

A man accused of killing his girlfriend and raping a child took over his defence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

Gerald Rossolloty, 40, said earlier in his trial his lawyer was incompetent and had not questioned State witnesses according to his instruction.

He asked Judge Rishi Seegobin to allow him to call witnesses to prove his innocence.

On Monday he called his mother Brenda to testify. She told the court he assaulted her on one occasion. She lost teeth, sustained a broken jaw and other injuries when she intervened in a fight between Gerald and his younger brother Rowan. She was hospitalised and had to undergo surgery.

She said if Gerald hit Rowan as hard as he hit her he would “not be here today”.

Rossolloty is accused of raping a six-year-old girl, killing his girlfriend and setting alight a simplex.

In March, when his trial began, Rossolloty did not say how the child, who had spent a day with him, was raped.

The girl, now 11, told the court, through an intermediary from a room nearby, that Rossolloty said he had a present for her when she was in his home.

He made her strip, threw her on a bed, smeared cream on himself and raped her.

Rossolloty has denied killing his girlfriend. Nokwazi Ntuli had spent the night with him, a day after another woman gave birth to his son.

District surgeon Danraj Maney previously testified that Ntuli died from an assault. Her body was found after a fire at his simplex.

An expert testified that two separate fires were deliberately started.

Rossolloty said he was told Ntuli's burnt body was found near the Hilton College road. It was on a mattress from the home.

The State alleges that after the birth of his son he wanted to get rid of Ntuli and assaulted her. The State claimed that after the assault Rossolloty drove her body and the mattress to an isolated spot where he set it alight.

The trial continues on Tuesday. - Sapa