By Nthethe Maphaong
MASERU — A 45-year-old man from Thaba-Bosiu will spend the next 15 years in jail after he was convicted of rape and assault by the Maseru Magistrate’s Court last week. Mohlomi Mohatlane might however spend only 10 years behind bars if he pays a M5 000 fine in-lieu of the five-year sentence magistrate Ntsebiseng Moopisa gave him for assault. The court heard how Mohatlane, an unemployed man from Ha-Ntsane in Thaba-Bosiu, raped and assaulted a woman who works at a textile factory in Maseru West Industrial Area on February 11.
The victim whose name has been withheld for ethical reasons told the court how Mohatlane had brutally assaulted and raped her in the early hours of the morning of February 11. She told the court how Mohatlane had followed her until she reached a donga before viciously pouncing on her. “I saw a man near the donga where I was going to pass. I avoided passing near him but he followed me everywhere I was going,” she said.
“I could clearly see that it was Mohlomi (Mohatlane) because it was already in the morning and he was wearing a pair of khaki trousers and black boots with a Kaizer Chiefs (football club) hat.” “He followed me until he caught up with me and he said to me “letekatsi u tsoa kae ka nako ee?” (Hey you whore, where are you from at this time of the day?)”. She said she replied that she was rushing to work. “He told me to stop because he would whip me at the back with a stick. I ignored him and continued moving. He held me tightly with my clothes and pulled me inside the donga, I tried to fight back but I did not succeed, he pulled me down and pulled off my panties and started raping me,” she said.
A crown witness identified only as ’Mabafokeng said the victim called her to her house to narrate her ordeal. “Her eyes were swollen and I advised her to go report this incident to the police,” ’Mabafokeng said. “Molefi Hlalele offered his car (to take her to the police) to report the case”. Detective Constable Lesiea from Maseru Rural Headquarters at the Department of Child and Gender Protection Unit recorded the victim’s statement. Lesiea said he went to meet the village chief of Ha-Ntsane during his investigation.
“The accused (Mohatlane) was caught by the villagers who brought him to me after I had introduced myself,” he said. Mohlomi, who pleaded guilty to the charges, asked for the court’s leniency. “I am very sorry to plead guilty, I am a first offender, I am taking care of many orphaned children and I am still mourning the death of my aunt. My wife left me and I do not have a permanent job,” pleaded the accused.