Home News Brother of slain 11-year-old takes witness stand

Brother of slain 11-year-old takes witness stand

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Monnapule Mokgale, the brother of slain Relebogile Segami, 11, took the witness stand in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley and spoke about the events leading up to the rape of a 15-year-old girl in December 2021 and the day his sister vanished.

Itumeleng Machabe appears in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

MONNAPULE Mokgale, the brother of slain 11-year-old Relebogile Segami, took the witness stand in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley on October 3 and spoke about the events leading up to the rape of a then 15-year-old complainant in December 2021 and the day his sister vanished.

Mokgale used to be friends with Itumeleng Machabe, who is accused of raping and murdering his younger sister and raping the 15-year-old girl.

Mokgale, who is currently employed at a construction company in Kimberley, told the court that he shares a mother with the late Relebogile.

He told the court that he had shared an intimate night with the 15-year-old complainant who Machabe is accused of raping.

The State alleges that Machabe raped the complainant on the morning of December 5, 2021 in the veld near the Northern Cape legislature.

Mokgale told the court that he met the complainant at Neo’s Tavern on a Saturday night before the incident. She was drinking with her friends and he was out with his own friends.

He said he could not remember the date.

Mokgale said he did not know the complainant and met her for the first time.

He said he approached the complainant and told her that he had alcohol at his shack and they should go and fetch it and then return to join their friends.

He explained to the court that he had been friends with Machabe for about five years and they were known to each other’s families.

According to Mokgale, they had met on Facebook. He said Machabe had multiple social media accounts and was active on all of them.

He told the court that his siblings, including Relebogile, knew Machabe and he had seen them in his company many times

Mokgale said he was no longer friends with Machabe after he was assaulted by him the morning after he (Mokgale) had spent an intimate night with the complainant.

He told the court that he and the complainant left the tavern at around 11pm to go to his shack in Nkandla.

He said that upon arrival at the shack, they drank a little bit and then the complainant felt tipsy and wanted to sleep.

“Me and the complainant had a conversation in my shack, kissed and had consensual sex,” said Mokgale.

“While we were sleeping, my friend, Machabe, knocked on my door. He was accompanied by two girls. He asked me for a place to sleep and I agreed, but told him that I also have a guest.”

Mokgale said one of the girls felt uncomfortable about the arrangement and said she wanted to leave.

“The girl said she was tricked by the accused (Macahbe), who had told her that there would be transport to take the girls back, but it was clear that that was not true.

“The accused was trying to convince her to stay but she insisted that she wanted to be taken back.”

Mokgale said he called the police for assistance because he did not know what else to do. He was transferred to the Kagisho police station and the police officer who spoke to him said they could not come out and transport the girls, but could assist in sending a cab and pay for it.

“When the cab arrived the two girls left, but the accused said he would stay and sleep over.

“My plan was for him to sleep on the floor, but he insisted on sleeping on the bed with us.”

Mokgale told the court that Machabe started “making moves” on the complainant while the three of them were sleeping on the bed, which resulted in a scuffle between him and the accused.

“He was sleeping on the side of the wall, then me, then the complainant. He started to reach out to her with his hand, crossing over me. I threw his hand off and he got angry. He jumped over me and slept next to the complainant. When his intentions became extreme, I kicked him off the complainant and he fell to the ground.

“That angered him even more and he became violent. A scuffle ensued between the two of us.”

Mokgale told the court he realised that fighting Machabe would be a losing battle because the accused was stronger than him.

He said he therefore went to call neighbours to come and get Machabe out of his shack. He said the neighbours came and calmed the situation down.

Mokgale said he realised that it was time for him to get ready for work.

“I told the complainant that I had to get ready for work and she said that she would accompany me halfway. The accused said he would walk with us because my workplace is in the same direction as his home, which I agreed to.

“Me and the accused took a few shots of alcohol before I took the bottle and put it in the bag that I was going to work with.”

He said they were walking peacefully in the vicinity of the Bougroep prison when Machabe suddenly said he wanted to turn back and wanted to take the complainant with him.

“I told him, ‘no’, and that he can return alone. He grabbed her by the arm and she was unsuccessful in trying to get away from him. I could see fear in her eyes and was prepared to rather go to work with her.

“The accused said I was getting in his way and he was becoming angry.

“While I was trying to convince him otherwise, that he could return alone because he had family nearby in Club 2000, he started assaulting me with his fists … I was not fighting back, but rather trying to convince him to calm down.

“The complainant ended up telling him to stop, saying that she would leave with him.

“At that point, I decided to let go because the complainant said she would leave with him. I could not do more in this regard because she did not say that she does not want to go. Unlike the two girls who made it clear that they wanted to leave my shack the night before, the complainant did not say she does not want to go.”

Mokgale said he had minor injuries, like a cut lip and a few bruises on his face, so he did not go to the doctor or open a case of assault.

The defence asked him why he did not go to the doctor or the police and he replied that it was “insignificant”, because he had had fights with his friends before.

He said he never saw Machabe after the incident because he cut contact with him.

He said he only saw the complainant months later, when they passed each other in the street and exchanged greetings.

The defence asked Mokgale whether he knew how old the complainant was and he responded that he assumed that she was of age.

He said they never really discussed the age issue because they met at a tavern.

Upon being asked what he would do if he was informed that she was 15 years old, Mokgale said: “Damn!”

He was also asked why he did not mention to the police that he had had intercourse with the complainant.

“I did not see anything wrong in sleeping with her because I didn’t even know how old she was.”

He was surprised to learn from the police that the complainant had opened a case of rape against Machabe.

“I heard from the police, who came to my shack after weeks, about the rape case. Two police officers came to ask me questions. They said they would return for a formal statement, which they did. They also informed me that they had come to my place on several occasions but did not find me.”

Mokgale said he only came into contact with Machabe again when his sister, Relebogile, disappeared on March 30, 2022.

He said he learned that Machabe was the last person to be seen with her.

He said he sent Machabe a WhatsApp message asking him where his sister was.

Mokgale said he also took his family to Machabe’s home in search of his sister, along with the police.

He said Machabe agreed to accompany them to search for Relebogile where he had last seen her, but they ended up at the Galeshewe police station.

The trial continues.

Itumeleng Machabe appears in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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