Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga today commended the investigating team on the successful prosecution meted out to rapist duo in the Alexandria Regional Court on Thursday August 20.
In a statement, provincial SAPS said: “The meticulous investigation by Constable Sandra Catherine of the Port Alfred Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offence Unit (FCS), to seek justice for innocent victims of crime paid off when gang rape duo, Sakhumzi Tyhutyhani, 22 and Lithemba Quma, 20, were sentenced to 15 years each for rape and Sakhumzi Tyhutyhani received an additional three years for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The incident occurred on February 3 2018, at about fifteen minutes after midnight.
“The 20-year-old victim was walking with three men who were known to her. An argument broke out between them when one of them mentioned that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with an old lady. She tried to stop him from committing this horrific act, at which point he said to her that if he cannot sleep with the old lady, then she must sleep with him,” SAPS said.
While the victim went to the bathroom to relieve herself, the two accused came to her and dragged her to a nearby walkway close to the house and took turns to rape her, while the third desperately tried to stop them but in vain. He ran off to summon a family member of the victim. Another person who was on crutches tried to stop her from being raped, but Tyhutyhani grabbed his crutches and hit the victim over the head. She later received 10 stitches on her head.
Both rapists were known by the complainant. Upon becoming aware of the incident, the parents of the accused rapists attempted to mediate to have the case withdrawn. The suspects also presented themselves to the investigating officer after being on the run for a week and identified themselves. They were immediately arrested and appeared in court.
The case was provisionally withdrawn pending forensic results.
Both accused were indicted to appear in court and shortly before the commencement of the trial Tyhutyhani’s bail application was successful (he appeared while on bail), and Quma was arrested on two separate incidents of murder that took place in Nemato. These cases are still pending.
During a short interview with the investigating officer Constable Sandra Catherine, she said: “In this case and in many other similar cases I found that parents want to mediate the incident with the victim’s family and pay for damages. Rape is a serious violation of a person’s rights and as long as society believes that payment will suffice to evade the criminal justice system, gender based violence will continue. We will be breeding criminals who believe that their actions are totally acceptable. We need to stand firm and put an end to this mentality.
“I have had immense support from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is my mission and goal to fight for the rights of victims,” she added.
Lt Gen Ntshinga said: “Investigators throughout the province put in every effort to bring justice for victims of gender based violence while working with other government departments. Today I congratulate Constable Sandra Catherine of the Port Alfred Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offence Unit who persevered and sought justice for a 20-year-old local resident. Although the life of this victim will not be the same, this sentence will hopefully bring a certain degree of closure and assist in the healing of this young woman.”