Man denied bail for gang-rape, slaying of girl in South Africa

Posted Mar 1, 2013 by Yukio Strachan
A South African man accused of gang raping, mutilating and murdering 17-year-old Anene Booysen was denied bail in court on Wednesday, South African media reported Thursday.
Andrew Bardwell
The Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court found that Jonathan Davids, 22, had not provided it with exceptional circumstances for his release and the public outrage over the crimes could not be ignored.
“There would have been a huge outcry if he was granted bail,” Eric Ntabazalila, regional spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told AFP.
Davids bowed his head and stared in disbelief at the ruling, a decision which shocked supporters who had thought he would be set free, according to the South African Press Association.
"If you look at the night after the murder, there was disappointment and outrage - not only by community members, but it also sent shock waves around the world," magistrate Graham Cupiso said in his ruling:
"Furthermore the violence against women and children in our country is very serious... The court must take this into account. If there wasn't a strong case, it would be unfair to deny bail.
"There is a prima facie against you. If you are released ... people's trust in justice would be questioned."
Davids is believed to be the victim's ex-boyfriend. Before she died, Booysen named one of her attackers as Zwai - the accused's nickname.
According to South Africa's Independent Online, Sergeant Dolene Oliver, who was the first investigating officer on the case, told the court: "I went to sit on steps next to her bed and asked whether she could hear me. She said yes.
"I could see she was assaulted ... her eyes were swollen shut, there was dry blood behind her ears and there was sand at the front of her hairline. Her cheeks were also purple.
"She told [a paramedic] that it was five to six people who did it to her and that she knew them. She said she knew them and that it was 'Zwai' and his friends from Kleinbegin."
Booysen said there were five or six attackers, but just two have been arrested so far.
At Bredasdorp magistrates court, Davids said his arrest had been a case of mistaken identity, as there is another man with a nickname Zwai living in a nearby town, International Business Times reported.
The teenager is believed to have been lured away from her friends on 1 February by a group of people she knew in the town of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town.
They then proceeded to rape her and disembowel her: the victim had been sliced open from her stomach to her genitals.
A security guard found Booyson's body February 2 dumped at a construction site not far from where she lived, police Capt. F.C. Van Wyk said.
Booysen's internal organs were hanging outside her body, in the dusty sand next to her.
“The intestines came out through her reproductive organs,” said Ntabazalila.
Booysen's injuries were so horrific that hospital staff who battled to save her life needed counseling to deal with the trauma.
In South Africa, rape is taken as a norm
Around the country people wondered the case might at last be a “Delhi moment,” referring to the protests that united India and the world after the violent gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus late last year, the Toronto Star noted.
Sexual crimes rarely spark media outrage.
Last year, almost 65,000 sexual offenses were reported to South African police, who estimate a woman is raped there every four minutes, CNN writes.
“Why is it not taken as a crisis?” Mbuyiselo Botha, spokesman for the Sonke Gender Justice Network told the Star. “In South Africa, rape is taken as a norm.”
The second man accused, Johannes Kana, 21, has confessed to raping and assaulting Booysen but nothing else.
“He did not confess to murder,” Ntabazalila added.
He has not yet applied for bail.
Both will stand trial for rape and murder on 22 April. If found guilty, they face life imprisonment.