Yesterday, a victim of the alleged rapist, an Uber driver, detailed how, while he and his girlfriend were tied and stuffed in the boot of a Toyota Corolla - bloodied and bruised - he proposed to her as fear surged inside both of them at not knowing what their fate would be.
“Interesting story; I proposed to my then girlfriend in the boot,” the witness said.
The witness, who will remain anonymous to protect his and his wife’s identities, was testifying at the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
He was testifying against Mmotlane Mankgane, Legadima Maswikaneng, Bonga Sikhosana and Themba Mkuwanazi.
The four accused, aged between 19 and 26, are facing three counts of rape, four of robbery, three of kidnapping and a count each of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, attempted rape and attempted murder.
They are accused of going on a violent crime orgy in the north of Joburg, targeting Uber clients, with Mankgane being the alleged driver.
Tuesday's witness told the court that his partner and two other couples had enjoyed a night out in Sunninghill, when they requested an Uber at around 2am.
He and his partner rode in an Uber allegedly driven by Mankgane, when two other assailants - whom he identified as Maswikaneng and Sikhosana - came out from the boot behind the back passenger seats wielding knives.
After both victims were head-butted, and with the witness being stabbed repeatedly, they were allegedly robbed of their valuables and taken to a house in Ekurhuleni. There, the woman was raped by one of the suspects while she lay next to her partner.
“At this point, my wife and I knew she was going to be raped. I remember her holding my hand. She told me: ‘Don’t fight; it will be over soon.’” The couple were rescued the next day after a group of children saw them through the window in the room they were being held in. The police were called, but the assailants had bolted.
The witness positively identified Mankgane and Maswikaneng in an identity parade at Johannesburg Central police station. All four accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Uber previously told The Star that it had instituted a raft of safety measures to protects its clients, including an In-App Emergency Button and 24/7 phone support.
The trial continues.