Potch teen lesbian victim breaks down as rape case postponed again

Pic: Action for Social Justice International

Justice for a Potchefstroom teenage lesbian victim of rape and assault is delayed again, after the bail hearing for her alleged attacker was postponed.

On Tuesday, activists and members of the LGBTI community protested outside the Potchefstroom Magistrates’ Court in support of the young woman. They held up signs calling for justice for LGBTI lives and for equality before the law.

Mbali*, who was a minor when she was raped, was discovered by her school’s patrolling officer the morning after the 2016 attack, lying behind a soccer field.

She had been severely assaulted and left unconscious in the veld by her alleged attacker, Alfred “General” Mabea. Mbali was taken to the hospital where she was admitted into ICU for a number of days. Mabea was on the run for nearly two years and was only arrested on 20 June in Randfontein, on Johannesburg’s West Rand.

This week, his bail application was postponed for a second time, following a request by the defence. The matter will now resume on 24 July.

“The delay is unacceptable,” said Thabiso Mogapi wa Tsotetsi, Chairperson of Action for Social Justice International, one of the organisations monitoring the case.

He told Mambaonline that the ongoing possibility that the suspect will be released on bail has added to the victim’s trauma. “It broke my heart. The victim broke down and the family was in tears. She fell down and the sister had to carry her,” Tsotetsi said. “They are not happy about [the delay].”

He pleaded for funding to be able to offer the victim additional counseling. “She is still young and I don’t know what will happen when she stands in the dock for questioning. I don’t know if she will be able to cope. She needs some more psycho-social treatment and support.”

According to the activist, the state may consider changing Mabea’s charge of assault to attempted murder after Tsotetsi informed the prosecutor about the severity of Mbali’s injuries. “The prosecutor was not even aware that the victim was in ICU,” he explained.

“It is always advisable and wise for the investigating officers to consult with LGBTIQ+ civil society organisations on matters of this nature, because there are elements that strengthen the case and make it more comprehensive or tighter when coming before the court,” Tsotetsi added.

The suspect has insisted he wants to apply for bail, even though he has been charged with serious Schedule 6 offences, which make his being granted bail unlikely.

The case has also been monitored and the victim supported by OUT LGBT Well-being and the Love Not Hate campaign.

*Mbali is not the real name of the victim.

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