Man who shot, raped mother on EC farm convicted for 'unspeakable horror'

Sebenzile Simane was found guilty on two counts of rape, four of attempted murder, attempted rape and compelling a child to witness a sexual act, among others.
Sebenzile Simane was found guilty on two counts of rape, four of attempted murder, attempted rape and compelling a child to witness a sexual act, among others.
Image: HeraldLIVE/Eugene Coetzee

The man accused of raping a 45-year-old businesswoman and tormenting her three young children on a farm outside Hankey, in the Eastern Cape, has been convicted on all 17 counts against him.

The charges include two of rape, four of attempted murder, attempted rape and compelling a child to witness a sexual act, among others.

Handing down judgment in the Port Elizabeth High Court, Judge Olav Ronaasen said Sebenzile Simane, 32, was a weak witness whose evidence in his own defence was highly improbable.

Simane pleaded not guilty at the beginning of the trial, claiming that he was not near either of the scenes where DNA evidence positively linked him to the March 23 2018 attack on the family near Hankey, as well as a February 6 2018 attack near Patensie.

In his judgment, Ronaasen said the events which took place on the night of March 23 was  "an unspeakable horror", which would haunt those affected forever.

"These events will never be erased," Ronaasen said.

DNA evidence collected at both crime scenes, which included a balaclava, a knife, a bed sheet and other items, could not be disputed and Ronaasen said Simane's claim that the evidence was fabricated, "was woeful". 

It was found that Simane, wearing a balaclava and wielding a gun, stormed into the home of the woman and her three children on March 23 and opened fire on the family, injuring the woman in the process.

During the harrowing four-hour ordeal that followed, the woman was raped twice - once while her 12-year-old daughter was forced to watch.

All four family members had been tied up during the attack while Simane rummaged through the house. He then forced the woman to take him to an ATM and withdrew money from her bank account.

Simane later let the woman go after which she returned to her farm and found her children at a neighbour's house.

Simane was arrested on March 28 after images gathered from CCTV footage outside an Absa ATM in Humansdorp, after the attack on the family, led to the police positively identifying him.

This enabled the police to trace Simane to Palmrietfontein, where he was arrested.

Ronaasen said Simane had not provided any supporting evidence for his alibi claims that he was not at either of the crime scenes.

Simane could further not give any significant reason of how his DNA was found at both scenes.

Ronaasen said the evidence given by both witnesses was impressive and both should be regarded as credible.

"In my view, in respect of the evidence given by [both complainants], I have no hesitation in accepting [their] evidence," Ronaasen said.

It was further ordered that Simane’s details be included in the national sexual offenders' register.

- HeraldLIVE


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