By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu
A 41year old Esigodini woman allegedly suffered a three-hour rape ordeal at the hands of four men who pounced on her while she was on her way from work at night.
Mlungisi Ncube (27) of Kwalini Village in Filabusi area and his three accomplices who are still at large, allegedly took turns to rape the woman near Esihlengeni Business Centre in Esigodini at around 2AM on September 15.
They only released her at around 5AM after they heard a vehicle passing by, the court heard.
Ncube pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira.
He was acquitted after the court failed to find incriminating evidence against him. In passing his sentence, Mr Dzira said the State witnesses had failed to prove that Ncube was part of the gang.
Prosecuting, Mr Pearson Chekeya said the four men raped the woman on September 15 at around 2AM.
“The complainant works as a sales lady at Esiphezini Bottle Store at Esihlengeni Business Centre. On 15 September she knocked off from work around 2AM and headed home. When she had walked about 100 metres from the business centre Ncube and his three accomplices approached from behind.
“One of them grabbed the woman by the neck and pushed her to the ground. One of them went on to rape the woman while the other three held her legs and hands. The four men raped the woman interchangeably, twice each,” said Mr Chekeya.
He said Ncube and his accomplices then fled from the scene after raping the woman and left her lying on the ground. The matter was reported to the police leading to Ncube’s arrest.
In his defence, Ncube told the court that he was at home with his girlfriend at the time he is alleged to have committed the offence.
“I passed through the business centre and I saw the complainant but I left her there. My girlfriend then called me to her place and I went there at around 9PM and I spent the night with her.
At the time that it’s alleged that I committed the offence, I was with my girlfriend. She could attest to that but right now she has gone back to South Africa as she works there,” he said.
In her statement, the woman said Ncube was one of the men who raped her. She said Ncube was the first one to rape her before he gave way to his three other accomplices.
She said when she saw the four men approaching from behind she just ignored them and assumed they were just patrons who were coming from the bar and were using the same road she was using.
“As they drew near me Ncube grabbed me by the neck and pushed me to the ground. He ordered his friends to grab me and one of them grabbed my right leg, another grabbed my left leg and another held my hands down,” said the woman.
“Ncube covered my mouth with his hand to stop me from screaming and he raped me before giving his friends an opportunity to rape me as well.
They each raped me twice until I was weak and they left me lying on the ground. This ordeal lasted from 2AM up until 5AM when the gang fled upon hearing a vehicle approaching us.”
She said she regained her strength a few minutes later and proceeded home where she narrated what had transpired. She said she bled for two consecutive days following the incident. The Chronicle