The trial of three men accused of the gang rape of a young gay Western Cape man finally got underway this week, only to be postponed again.
The man from Ceres, identified as ‘M’, was raped in 2017, allegedly by a group of other young men after they called him a “m*ffie naaier”.
According to the Cape Times, the trial of Rodney Beukes, Austin Fritz and Peter John Adams started this week following repeated delays over the past two years. They are facing charges of kidnapping and rape.
It’s believed that the alleged rapists are members of a notorious gang in the area called The Ford Boys, which has terrorised residents.
Like most locals, M was too afraid to lay a charge of rape or report the incident when he was first attacked. Things changed when he was again raped three months later.
M got the chance to testify against his alleged attackers this week. He was allowed to appear in court, where he was cross-examined, in-camera (without the public present) as he fears for his life.
These fears are justified. In 2014, his friend David Olyne was murdered in a brutal homophobic attack. He was tied with wire, beaten, kicked and set on fire.
“[M] did an amazing job on the stand and he was amazingly brave,” Triangle Project support services manager Sharon Cox told the newspaper.
The case has now been postponed to 8 October. “Delays and postponements have a great impact on victims,” said Cox. “A victim will emotionally, psychologically and physically prepare for trials and when it does not commence on the date set down, the victim has to go through that all again.”
While disappointed at the delay, Triangle Project, which has been monitoring the case and supporting the victim, praised the magistrate and the investigating officer.
“We would like to thank Investigating Officer Van Rooy. His work, his commitment to the case and his dedication to his calling, has been so appreciated,” said the organisation on Facebook. “We also appreciate the new magistrate in the case, who disallowed an extremely inappropriate question. This may seem innocuous but we have seen inappropriate questions being posed by a magistrate, in another case of a similar nature.”
According to the 2016 report, Hate Crimes against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People, 13% of LGBT men in South Africa have reported being sexually abused or raped.