‘When I woke up there were two people in the shack and they were children - one on the left and one on the right . . . I did not do anything to them’
KIDNAPPING and rape accused, Moses Monnapule, allegedly lured two young girls to his shanty in Madiba Square by buying them biscuits and chips before locking them inside and raping them.
The girls were six and eight years old at the time of the incident in June 2015.
Taking the stand in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, Monnapule accused the girls of lying and regurgitating what their parents had told them to say.
“If I had done anything wrong, I would have escaped a long time ago and would not be standing in court,” he said.
“It is common knowledge that my neighbour, Connie Sethlale, who testified that she saw me with the children on the night of the incident, is not on good terms with me. There are people who do not like or want me (in the community). They will always bad-mouth me.”
He could not explain why his semen was found on one of the girl’s underwear or how the bodily fluids of the other girl were found on his mattress.
Monnapule added that he had a memory problem.
“If I remembered, I would be able to answer all the questions posed. When I woke up there were two people in the shack and they were children – one on the left and one on the right. I did not do anything to them.”
He later pointed out that he was not able to remember if he had done anything to the children.
“I was surprised to hear when they testified that I took turns having sexual intercourse with them, at least four times. I never had sexual intercourse with them. Let me tell you something, if it was my manhood, those children would not even be able to testify in court.
“It is beyond lies what they have accused me of. Those children were even playful when they left my shack the following morning.”
Under cross-examination, he later contradicted himself, saying that he had never told the court that he woke up the following morning with the children lying next to him.
“I did not recall anything because I was drunk.”
He remembered visiting a tavern near his sister’s house and drinking about six to seven bottles of beer and smoking mandrax that evening.
“When I drink alcohol and smoke mandrax, it makes me drunk and confused and I go to sleep knowing that I will be fine the next morning.”
Monnapule told the court that the girls accompanied him to his house, which is situated close to the legislature, because he was inebriated. It was a 30 to 35-minute walk.
“I do not remember leaving the tavern. After crossing the bridge I noticed the children were walking alongside me. I do not want to lie, I asked myself why they wanted to walk home with me in the dark. It did not cross my mind to send them home.”
He denied luring the children to his house or that he had bought anything for them from the tuck shop.
Monnapule stated that he prepared a sleeping place for the children next to his sofa, as it was too late and dark to take them back home.
“I only took off my shoes and climbed into bed with my clothes on. Nothing happened between the children and I before I went to sleep.”
He first stated that the children were dressed when they went to sleep, then later could not recall if they were wearing their clothes.
“I do not remember forcing anyone to undress. I do not know how they sustained injuries to their genital areas.”
He explained that he had lost his phone “a long time ago” and did not think of calling the girls’ parents to notify them of their whereabouts.
Monnapule stated that he woke up the next morning when someone knocked on the door, while the girls were already up, dressed and were sitting on the sofa.
He also told the could that he believed that he was a victim of witchcraft after a dead body was found in his yard.
Senior State advocate Catherine Jansen believed that Monnapule had selective memory loss.
“The accused was able to remember the chain of events up until he went to sleep. He is pretending not to remember specific incidents.”
She pointed that according to Sethlale, Monnapule was not drunk when she saw them that evening, where he had admonished the children and told them to go home as it was getting late.
“If Sethlale had not seen the children in the company of the accused, the children would never have been found.”
She added that the children had testified that they had accompanied Monnapule after he had promised to buy them biscuits and chips from a tuck shop close to his shanty.
She questioned why Monnapule had not contacted the children’s parents, as they would have been worried about their disappearance.
Jansen asked the accused why he had not sent the children to sleep on the bed that he had made for them, instead of sleeping next to him.
“The children were crying and upset when they were found the following morning. They had sustained several injuries, including extensive bruising and tears to their genital areas.
“Both children were penetrated vaginally and anally. According to them the accused was the only person who was with them from the time they left the veld until one of their fathers fetched them from Monnapule’s shanty.”
Jansen indicated that both girls were still extremely traumatised and emotional, three years after the incident.
“Consent was never an issue because they are under-aged. It was clear that the accused was naked during the incident and that sexual penetration took place.”
She added that all State witnesses had testified that the accused was neither intoxicated by drugs nor alcohol.
“If he was under the influence, he would not have been able to walk the distance to his home. One witness stated that he could talk but appeared to be hung over.”
Legal representative for the accused, advocate Dries van Tonder, admitted that his client was a poor witness under cross-examination.
“This basically leaves the court with the evidence that was presented by the State.”
He called for an acquittal on the charge relating to anal penetration as he believed that it had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The case continues before acting Judge Vernon Smith today.