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Durban -

An Ntuzuma man charged with 13 counts of rape allegedly covered the face of one of his victims, a 10-year-old, with a cloth, while he attacked her at a construction site, Durban Regional Court heard yesterday.

The alleged victim, now 17, was testifying in the trial of Sipho Alfred Mdluli, who has pleaded not guilty.

She said she had been walking to her aunt’s house in October 2007 when a man came from behind, covered her face with a cloth and took her to a car.

They went to the construction site of what is now Bridge City shopping mall in KwaMashu.

The teenager testified that the man ordered her to remove her shorts then raped her.

She said he told her not to remove the cloth over her face and left her in the bushes before fleeing in a car with another man.

Assisted by a young boy, she found her way home and her family took her to a police station and opened a case, the court heard.

She was then taken to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where doctors took blood samples.

The teen said the rape had left her traumatised, but she had not received any counselling.

She had missed many days of school, she said, and her school performance had suffered because she had trouble sleeping.

She also told the court she had made frequent visits to the doctor because of her injuries.

Mdluli, whose alleged victims were all under 16 - the youngest was 7 - pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial in November and is expected to argue that he was implicated in the crimes by a former investigating officer, who he alleged was having affairs with his wife and daughter.

He is expected to say the officer was removed from the case and discharged from the police.

The new investigating officer would attend court with more witnesses tomorrow, when the trial resumes, prosecutor Jerome Gnanapragas told magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe.

The trial is being held in camera and the victims cannot be identified.

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