File Picture: Independent Media.
Durban - A Durban woman who said she had been raped by a man from her neighbourhood now claims she got his identity mixed up and wants him released from prison.

Wonderboy Shandu, 28, was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the now 42-year-old woman during a house break-in in Amaoti, Inanda, in 2008. Shandu was convicted in 2010.

The woman, who cannot be named because she is a rape victim, has sought help from prisoner advocacy organisation, Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Trust, to have the convict set free.

The woman described to the Sunday Tribune how she came to the conclusion the convicted man was innocent.

“It was midnight when five suspects wearing balaclavas broke into my house and demanded money and my cellphone.

“While others were ransacking the house, one of them shoved me onto the bed and raped me. When he was done another one took his turn. They left after that,” she said.

She said the two ‘rapists’ were tall and dark in complexion which contradicted with the physical appearance of the convict.

“He does not look like any of the suspects who raped me, even the other suspects. I realised that during the trial, but could not inform anyone because I was angry,” she said.

She said her reason to testify against the convict was influenced by a community forum to which she reported her incident.

“After the incident, I approached a community forum and when I told them about the incident they jumped to a conclusion that he (the convict) and his friend were the ones who raped me because he was troublesome in the area.

“I went with what they said because I was still frightened and confused,” she said.

According to the woman, the convict and another suspect were apprehended after the incident, but the second suspect was released due to lack of evidence.

She said she could no longer live with herself while an innocent person was behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Derrick Mdluli, director of the prisoner advocacy group, Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Trust, said the organisation is committed to helping the convict.

“We are now waiting for a senior counsel to advise us whether we should open a new case regarding this matter because the complainant has produced new evidence which needs to be analysed,” Mdluli said.

Gert Nel, deputy director of public prosecutions in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said it would be improper for him to comment on the matter as there are legal processes pending.

Sunday Tribune