The leader of a prison gang will have to serve a life sentence for twice raping a fellow inmate after the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria turned down his appeal against his conviction and sentence.
While the victim gave a detailed account of how he was raped on two occasions, inmate Sipho Mthimunye, 35, simply denied that it ever happened.
The victim, who told the court that he was terrified after the first rape, said he was raped yet again the following evening.
He was at first too afraid to tell anyone, as Mthimunye and his fellow gang members threatened that they would kill him.
Mthimunye was earlier convicted by the Benoni Regional Court and sentenced to life imprisonment on both counts of rape, but turned to the high court on appeal.
The complainant testified that he and Mthimunye were both incarcerated at the Modder B detention centre in Benoni.
They shared a 60-sleeper cell but at the time it only had 26 inmates. Mthimunye was the leader of the Rough Three gang and most of the inmates inside their cell were members of his gang.
One night Mthimunye woke the complainant from his bed, offered him a cigarette and led him to the bathroom for a smoke.
They smoked in the bathroom and when the complainant had finished smoking, he turned to walk away.
Mthimunye grabbed him from behind, choked him and raped him without using a condom.
The complainant said he could not scream for help as he was being choked. Once he had finished violating the complainant, Mthimunye ordered him to take a shower.
Before they went to sleep, Mthimunye threatened him and said that his “boys” would kill him if he reported the incident and that he was now his “boy”.
The complainant could not sleep that night. The next morning he was scared to report the rape incident to any of the officials.
He explained that this was because he had seen the gang’s engagement with the officials in the prison and he did not trust them.
According to the complainant, the Rough Three gang also threatened his mother and told her they would kill him if she did not pay a protection fee.
The mother had been making the payments that they demanded but these eventually increased to a point where she could no longer afford to do so.
His cousin, an ex-correctional services official, encouraged his mother to report the threats, which she did.
The second incident occurred the next evening when the lights in the cell were switched off.
Mthimunye called the complainant and the latter said he complied because he feared him. Mthimunye offered him a cigarette.
When he leaned towards him to light the cigarette, Mthimunye pushed his face down on to the pillow and raped him.
The following morning, the complainant was crying. He told a fellow inmate what happened to him and the inmate encouraged him to report the incident.
He was sent to a clinic where he was examined and a nursing sister confirmed some injuries “that may have been caused by a blunt instrument” or as a consequence of him being raped.
He was sent to a single cell and later transferred to another prison.
Mthimunye testified that he knew nothing about it.
He further testified that the injuries which were confirmed by the nursing sister were possibly caused by the fact that the complainant himself had inserted dagga into his anus in order to transport it to the other cells.
He said there was no bad blood between him and the complainant and offered no explanation for why the complainant would falsely implicate him.
The court turned down his version and said all fingers pointed to the fact that he had raped the complainant.