Suspected serial rapist Mr Mapanga was denied bail today in the Evander Magistrates court.
Mapanga faces 4 charges of kidnapping and 4 charges of rape.
The Presiding Officer, Mrs Singh (Magistrate Singh) delivered her judgement today.
Mapanga (34) is a teacher in eMbalenhle and stand accused of kidnapping and raping 4 women, 2 of which are minors, between March 2021 and May 2021.
The charges fall under Schedule 6 of the Criminal Offences Act. The offences listed in Schedule 6 are the most serious violent crimes, namely murder, rape. and robbery.
Magistrate Singh took several factors into consideration when she delivered her Judgement.
Here is a brief summary of the judgment.
Mapanga did not divulge his previous convictions when he was questioned. During the police investigation, it surfaced that he had a previous conviction of assault (2015).
An affidavit was filled with Mapanga’s application for bail and he refused to avail himself for cross-examination thereafter.
The applicant for Bail (Mapanga) through his affidavit denied his involvement in the commission of the rapes against all victims and stated that he will plead “Not Guilty” at trial.
Magistrate Singh then weighed several factors to determine if the conditions for bail have been met and that it is in the interest of justice that bail be approved.
“For a Schedule 6 offence, the accused has to adduce evidence to satisfy the court that exceptional circumstances exist in which the interests of justice permit his release.”
The applicant, Mapanga, in his affidavit stated the following as exceptional circumstances that justify his release on bail
- That he has permanent employment in the magisterial jurisdiction of Evander Court which establishes a sense of permanency and strike at the heart of bail proceedings in answering the questions whether the accused will stand trial.
- The lack of confirmation of the perpetrator as being the accused in light of the procedural flaws of the identity parade as well as recognised identification by the complainant in one case at the Engen Garage.
- Mapanga has given no clear instructions as to the Video footage obtained from the Shell garage in Kinross.
The respondents (victims) through the mouthpiece of Sergeant Malepela has opposed the applicant’s release.
Sgt Malepela detailed each incident that led to the 4 counts of kidnapping and rape but we will not include it here for the safety and dignity of the victims.
The Sgt described the conduct of the applicant as that of a serial rapist based on the similarities in all four cases.
In Brief, the similarities are as follows
- In all four instances, the same motor vehicle was used.
- In all four incidents, the manner of kidnapping and the conduct leading up to each act of rape are almost identical.
- In all four incidents, the complainants are young females between 14 and 19 years old.
- The complainants were made to wash their private parts with water that was kept in the boot of the vehicle.
- The incidents occurred over a weekend as well as a few other similarities.
Sgt Malepela referred to another matter in the Tonga court where the applicant was charged with rape that had similar features as the matters at hand. The matter was struck off the roll after only two appearances by Mapanga.
Magistrate Singh said that while Malapele struggled to connect the case to this one it is important to note that there are striking similarities.
Read more on the South African Justice System HERE
On this repetitiveness of the incidents, Sgt Malelea opposed the bail application stating also that they considered Mapanga a flight risk. This was due to the fact that the accused refused to give information of where he came from only saying that he is from Tonga near Nelspruit. Even the address in the Tonga rape docket was incorrect and vague.
Magistrate Singh said that not only are the applicant familiar with the criminal justice system but he exhibits conducts consistent with one who wishes to evade detection.
Did the applicant raise sufficient evidence to show exceptional circumstances?
The presiding officer also said that the interest of the applicant must be weighed against that of society.
The state highlighted the following area regarding the failure of the applicant to show exceptional circumstances.
- The applicant did not testify orally, therefore, leaving his evidence untested and the state version unchallenged.
- His previous conviction is a sign of his undermining the justice system.
- His repeated conduct is a sign that he will endanger a member of the public again.
- He failed to establish his permanency in the area.
The seriousness of the charges against the accused, Mapanga, will lead to if convicted, a lengthy term of imprisonment. This alone could move the applicant to flee.
Magistrate Singh said that a serial rapist is one that is defined to have committed two or more rapes. She also said that the cases of the four complainants are almost carbon copies of each other. The complainants corroborated each other stories. She also said that the four complainants did not know each other and so the likelihood that they conspired is negligible.
The fact that the applicants were made to wash is an important piece of information as it shows a high level of forensic awareness by the applicant as he considered the destruction of semen important.
The water is a further indication that the applicant planned the incidents.
The applicant removed the number plates of his vehicle in three instances and was caught on camera at the Shell Garage in Kinross doing so.
In one instance two good Samaritans noticed the emotional state of the complainant and insisted that they take her to the police, in the other, a driver of a bakkie chased after the accused and even fired shots at him to try and save the minor child.
Magistrate Singh concluded that the applicant did not successfully challenge the grounds levelled against him primarily because he did not have his version challenged in open court, also his lack of permanency and while he was employed at the time of his arrest he cannot be sure that he will still be employed at a school where there are vulnerable children. If he is no longer employed there will be nothing keeping him in this area.
Several other facts were also highlighted.
Mr Mapanga was instructed to rise. Magistrate Singh then informed the accused that bail is denied!
The case is then postponed until August to give time for DNA tests to be returned.
The Bulletin spoke to the investigating officer in this case prior to publishing the accused’s name. The investigating officer confirmed that the public need to know