A second-year Port Elizabeth university student was raped, beaten with a pole and left for dead in bushes near Schoenmakerskop in an incident that bears chilling similarities to the brutal kidnap, rape and attempted murder of Alison Botha 22 years ago.
The NMMU student’s two attackers had first tried to shoot her after the rape on Saturday morning, but their gun jammed.
They then bludgeoned her repeatedly with a steel pole.
After they fled, believing she was dead, the brutalised young woman, 24, staggered about a kilometre through the bushes and on a gravel road before collapsing on the shoulder of Victoria Drive.
A passer-by who saw her lying on the side of the road, covered in blood, alerted the police.
The vicious attack comes just two months after qualified medic and NMMU student Thabani Ngwekazi, 28, was killed and his 21-year-old friend raped when they were hijacked outside the Varsity Park student residences in North End.
The student attacked this weekend, who cannot be named because of the nature of the offence, was abducted after a night of partying at Cafe Loxion in Parliament Street, Central, and at the flat of an acquaintance.
Yesterday, police combed the area along Victoria Drive before finding the crime scene in the restricted municipal Driftsands Natural Area, which borders Schoenmakerskop.
Detectives from the specialist family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit have taken over the case.
They still have to consult with the woman, who had been treated in hospital but is now staying at a relative’s house in Port Elizabeth.
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the student had been at the club for most of the night.
“She went outside [at about 2am] to get fresh air and find her friend,” she said.
“The woman could not find her friend, but saw a man that she knew at one of the cars parked nearby.
“They spoke and he [and two of his friends] offered to give her a lift.
“The [two] men then dropped her off at a flat with her friend and left.
“It is unclear what exactly transpired inside the flat and if they continued drinking and socialising.”
Asked if the student’s friend had tried to rape her, Janse van Rensburg said when the woman declined to have sex with him, the man called his two friends back to the flat.
“When the men returned, the woman begged to be taken home. They agreed and she got into the car with the two of them,” she said.
“The friend who lived in the flatlet stayed behind.”
Janse van Rensburg said the two men drove the woman down Victoria Drive, towards Schoemakerskop, until they found a path into the bushes near Marine Drive.
“While in the car [on her way home] she is believed to have fallen asleep, but she does recall seeing a sign saying Walmer,” she said. “She became nervous but could not escape as they had pulled off the road into the bushes.”
The men then dragged the student out of the car and allegedly raped her.
Afterwards, one man pulled out a gun and allegedly tried to shoot her.
“The firearm is believed to have jammed, prompting one of the men to fetch a steel pole from the car,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“She was badly assaulted and pretended to be dead.”
The men eventually sped off, leaving the woman for dead in the bushes.
She managed to stagger to the side of the road during the early hours of Saturday, where a passerby alerted police to a woman lying on the side of the road, at about 10am.
The woman was taken to the Thuthuzela Care Centre at Dora Nginza Hospital for treatment.
“All the tests were completed and her family called in. She is extremely traumatised,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“She was treated for her injuries and discharged late on Saturday night as she wanted to go to a relative’s house where she felt safer.”
The attack happened only a few kilometres from where Botha was raped, disembowelled and stabbed more than 36 times.