Caregiver faces jail after rape of disabled boy

Estelle Ellis
ellise@avusa.co.za


IN the first case of its kind in the Eastern Cape, a Motherwell woman is facing rape charges after allegedly forcing herself on a disabled 15-year-old boy.


Thozama Magxeke, 45, was working as a caregiver to another handicapped child, who lived in the same house as the victim, when the alleged rape took place.


The trial  began in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday, with Judge Judith Roberson explaining that in terms of mandatory sentences Magxeke could be sent to prison for life if found guilty.


Magxeke has pleaded not guilty, but her counsel, Khaya Saziswa, said she preferred not to give a plea explanation at this stage.


The state alleges that on August 1, 2009, Magxeke had just finished changing the boy’s nappy at a home in Motherwell when the complainant, who is mildly mentally handicapped, asked her to help him turn over on the bed.


According to court papers, Magxeke turned him around and then raped him.
It is alleged that she was on her way out of the house when the complainant’s mother returned and he told her what had happened. Magxeke was arrested the next day.


He is wheelchair- bound and cannot even hold a glass of water. Advocate Malini Govender  told the court that when the teen was assessed by psychiatrists, they found him to be “mildly mentally challenged”. He has an IQ of 68 and his mental age is estimated to be that of a 10-year-old boy.


He  testified behind closed doors yesterday, while his mother is expected to give evidence today.


When the new Sexual Offences Act became operational in October 2008, the crime of rape was redefined.


Before the new law, women could not be charged with rape. Instead, they were charged with soliciting sex under the Immorality Act, which has since been repealed.

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