Fear as prison rapist skips sentencing

Published May 13, 2024


Durban — The family of a woman who was raped by a Westville Prison warden fears he might flee to evade sentencing.

Themba David Ntombela, a captain at the prison, who was convicted of raping his children’s nanny in a housing complex for prison warders and other staff on the premises of the prison, was meant to have been sentenced on Friday in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.

However, to the dismay of his victim and her family, Ntombela was not in court. Instead, a medical certificate was presented to the court, citing that he was sick and had been hospitalised.

Ntombela raped the woman on Valentine’s Day in 2022 and two days later she opened a case at the Westville police station. He was arrested on February 17.

The woman fell pregnant after the rape that Ntombela initially denied. DNA proved that the child, who is now a toddler, was his.

Outside court, the woman asked her older brother to speak on her behalf, saying she was angry and not yet ready to speak to the media.

“We feel cheated as a family, having walked this path towards anticipated justice for a very long time now. I had expected that something like this would happen... that he would not show up,” said her brother.

The matter has been before the regional court since May 2022 and the trial started in April 2023.

The woman’s brother expressed disgust that Ntombela, who is a senior employee of the Department of Correctional Services, committed such an “atrocious act”, adding that the family felt that the court was being lenient towards him.

“Even though he was found guilty, his bail was extended and he remains free to continue living his life. Today we get here and learn that he is in the hospital, sick. If this had been me found guilty of this crime, I do not believe I would have had my bail extended. I would have been put behind bars after my conviction.”

“This is emotionally draining for the family and more especially my little sister. She has received threatening phone calls from supporters of man saying that they know where she lives and yet he still enjoys the privilege of bail.

“My sister is going through hell, she has sleepless nights with the baby, and with the accused still free, she cannot even begin to piece her life back together.”

“We hope that our suspicions are wrong and we see justice, but we can not help but think that the accused will either flee or take his own life to avoid sentencing.”

This was the second time that Ntombela’s sentencing was delayed.

The matter was postponed to later this month.

Sunday Tribune