PORT ELIZABETH, October 6 – A 29-year old man charged with raping two Nelson Mandela University (NMU) students, intends to plead guilty on all charges against him, his legal representative told the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.
The man, who cannot be named, until he formally pleads, appeared in court following a violent attack on two students earlier this week.
He opted to be represented by a legal aid attorney who said that he had a previous conviction of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The accused, who wore a green hoodie and fidgeted excessively, abandoned a bid for bail.
Charges against him include two counts of rape, robbery and housebreaking.
A 25-year-old student and her friend were violently attacked in a computer lab at the Second Avenue Campus on Monday night. The man allegedly raped the students, robbed them of their cellphones and stabbed one of them with a pair of scissors.
The women were then forced to take a computer and monitor, which they had to carry until they were outside the building. The attacker ordered the women to pass the loot to him before he jumped the gate and fled, police said at the time.
He was arrested on Wednesday while he was apparently trying to sell the equipment in Govan Mbeki Avenue.
The case against him was postponed until Monday for a formal plea and consultations.
Meanwhile, NMU students gathered outside the court building in protest and called for the accused to be jailed for life.
The treasurer of the students representative council, Babalwa Vena, said she had seen a photograph of the alleged attacker and did not believe that he was an NMU student.
She said condemned a lack of security on the campus, saying anybody could come and go as they pleased.
“We don’t want this to drag and take months so that academic activities are disrupted. We want this guy to get a life sentence that is what we are expecting,” said Vena.
She said that the two students who were violently attacked were not coping well.
“They are not doing well and are still very traumatised. They will probably come to court at some stage,” she said.
A 29-year-old man is expected to make his first appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday, in connection with the rape and robbery of two Nelson Mandela University (NMU) students.
Mass picket action is expected to take place outside the court building.
The man was arrested by police on Wednesday, two days into protest action as students demanded heightened security at all NMU campuses. NMU has since been re-opened.
On Monday night, a 25-year-old student and her friend were violently attacked at the Second Avenue Campus in a computer lab. A man allegedly raped the students, stabbed one of them with a scissors and robbed them of their cell phones and wallets.
The terrified women were then forced to take a computer and monitor, which they had to carry until they were outside the building. The attacker ordered the women to pass the loot to him before he jumped the gate and fled, police said.
It later emerged that one of the women posted a desperate message on Facebook saying: “an someone please csend help we are beinf rapoed 2nd avenue campus fashjoom”.
Following the cry for help, social media erupted and pictures of the alleged perpetrator circulated online. He is seen wearing an orange top, a floppy hat and gloves in what appears to be screen grabs taken from security footage.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the suspect was initially charged with one count of rape, but after further investigations, an additional case of rape was opened.
“He allegedly stabbed one of the women when she told him she did not have a cell phone,” said Naidu.
He faces two counts of rape, robbery and housebreaking. Naidu said that additional charges could be added at a later stage.
The man was arrested in Govan Mbeki Avenue at around 3pm on Wednesday afternoon.
The man was apparently trying to sell a computer that he allegedly stole during the horrific attack of the two women. In addition, police said the man was also found in possession of a student’s cell phone.