PROGRESS IN LESBIAN RAPE CASES WELCOMED

Millicent Gaika shortly after her ordeal

Millicent Gaika shortly after her ordeal

The last few days have seen some measure of progress in two lesbian rapes cases in the Western Cape.

On Monday, the man found guilty of raping then-twenty-year-old Zukiswa Gaca as his friend watched in Khayelitsha in December 2009 was finally sentenced after almost four years.

According to Funeka Soldaat from the FreeGender organisation he received ten years in jail, with four years suspended.

Gaca was so traumatised by her ordeal that she attempted to take her own life by throwing herself under a train.

She was saved by a stranger who pulled her back from the tracks and took her to the police. Her case was only taken seriously by the authorities when their incompetence made international headlines.

On the weekend, another horrific case finally took a positive turn.

In Aril 2010, Millicent Gaika was raped, beaten and strangled by Andile Ngcoza over a five hour period in Gugulethu.

Gaika survived and Ngcoza was arrested and was eventually found guilty by the Wynberg Regional Court in 2011.

In spite of the severity of the attack, he was out on a mere R60 bail and failed to appear in court for sentencing. He has been on the run ever since.

On the weekend, however, he was finally re-arrested by police following a prolonged campaign by activists in which they distributed pamphlets urging the community to come forward with information about his whereabouts.

Soldaat said that she had been called by Gaika herself with the news, which was confirmed by the investigating officer.

“Millicent was jumping up and down when she called me,” said Soldaat. “She’s very excited – at last she can move forward. It won’t ever go away of course, but she can have some peace now.”

Soldaat said that today she was more positive about the police’s approach towards hate crimes in the Western Cape.

“We can’t be victims in police stations,” she said, explaining that the community needs to know that “if you mess with people, the police will deal with you”.

Soldaat commented that she still remains concerned about trial persecutors, whom she says, are not clear on the issues surrounding hate crime attacks. “They have to start taking us seriously,” she added.

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