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Further custody for crippled man “unable to function in prison”

By Sukulwenkosi Dube- Matutu

A physically challenged man (36) who is being held at Plumtree Prison for allegedly raping his two step daughters aged eight and 10 has complained of the disability unfriendly living conditions at the correctional facility.

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The man, who cannot be named for ethical reasons, but has no legs told Plumtree magistrate, Mr Livard Philemon that he could not access the toilet, bathroom and dining hall.

A resident of Matsota Village in Mphoengs, the rape suspect revealed this when he appeared in court for remand.

“Your Worship I’m exposed to harsh living conditions at the prison. As you can see I’m crippled. I don’t have legs and as a result I use my buttocks and hands to move around.

“Its difficult for me to reach the toilet seat and I struggle when I want to relieve myself. The toilets and bathroom floors are normally wet and dirty but I’ve to crawl on them. When it’s time for meals I’m always the last to get food and at times I don’t get any as others run to eat before me,” he said, appealing to the court to intervene so that his living conditions could be improved.

In response Mr Philemon advised the State to summon the officer in charge of Plumtree Prison over the matter. He further remanded the suspect in custody to November 11.

Prosecuting, Mrs Rose Sibanda said the man raped the two girls in 2012 and the matter only came to light this year when they were aged 13 and 16-years-old. He was arrested on September 27.

Mrs Sibanda said when he committed the offence he would advise each of the girls to stand guard at the door while he raped the other.

“In 2012 and on several occasions he took advantage when his wife was away and he raped his two step daughters interchangeably. Each time he would call the two girls to his bedroom hut and order each to stand guard at the door while he raped the other.

“This went on for a while but the girls did not report the matter to their mother as their step father would threaten them and beat them up with a sjambok,” she said.

Mrs Sibanda said the 13-year-old girl on September 27 narrated to her friends what had happened to her and her sister four years back and her peers alerted their teacher.

She said the girl’s teacher questioned the juvenile on the matter until she revealed what her step father had done to her and that he always threatened and beat them up to stop them from reporting.

The matter was reported to the police resulting in his arrest. Chronicle