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Call to keep rape accused in custody

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Traditional healers picketed outside the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, calling for bail to be denied for multiple rape accused Douglas Mthukwane.

Rape accused Douglas Notozonke Mthukwane. File picture

TRADITIONAL healers picketed outside the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday, calling for bail to be denied for multiple rape accused Douglas Mthukwane.

The courtroom was packed to capacity, while a petition was signed by the Barefoot Campaign and Women to Women organisation urging for Mthukwane to be kept in custody until the finalisation of the case.

Traditional healers held a picket outside the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Mthukwane was out on bail when he was charged for allegedly raping a 26-year-old traditional healer at his flat in Beaconsfield on November 24.

He is standing trial in the Northern Cape High Court for the rape of two women as well as a 14-year-old girl.

Kimberley police spokesperson Sergeant Dikeledi Gopane said Mthukwane was arrested and detained following an investigation by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit into a rape incident that occurred on November 24.

“The accused remains in custody and police investigations are continuing,” Gopane added.

Traditional healers petitioned for rape accused Douglas Mthukwane to remain in custody. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Appearing in court yesterday, Mthukwane’s legal representative, Shan Davids, stated that her client’s human rights were being violated as prison conditions are deplorable.

“My client has not been given his medication on time and he embarked on a hunger strike. He was assaulted and was threatened that he would be shot while in custody. The investigating officer did not assist him in taking his statement or opening a case.”

She added that no precautions were being taken at the hospital section of the facility.

“My client was alerted that there was a tuberculosis outbreak in the hospital section where nursing staff are not wearing masks. There are no ablution facilities and he is subjected to overcrowding in prison.”

Davids pointed out that the head of prison was supposed to testify as to why the facility was not compliant.

“The bail application cannot proceed without the investigating officer.”

She indicated that her client had written three letters of complaint regarding the conditions that he was exposed to while incarcerated.

“He is not the only inmate who is complaining.”

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said the State had closed its case in the Northern Cape High Court in relation to the three other rape charges against Mthukwane.

“The accused is still under cross-examination. He was sent for a short mental observation and after evidence was presented, the court decided to refer him for 30 days observation. He is however the 47th patient on the list who is waiting to be admitted. The matter has been postponed until March 11, 2024.”

Traditional healers held a picket outside the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Traditional healer Mhulu Kgomotso Mompati said they would continue to attend court proceedings and offer their support to the 26-year-old complainant, who is a traditional healer.

“The buck stops here. The accused must remain behind bars until judgment is delivered.”

Traditional practitioner Dr Isaac Pele Montse also voiced his concern over the plight of young women and children who were preyed on by sexual predators.

Mthukwane will remain in custody until his next court appearance on December 11.

Traditional healers held a picket outside the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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