Addict admits to multiple rapes

Homeless man who went on crime spree in Kwazakhele sentenced to several life terms

Vusumzi Snyman
Vusumzi Snyman

A homeless drug addict who roamed the streets of Kwazakhele for four years while breaking into homes and raping and robbing six women was sentenced to life imprisonment several times over yesterday.

This, after he detailed his reign of terror in a chilling 15-page confession before the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Vusumzi Snyman, 30, told Judge Jannie Eksteen that he was on drugs at the time of the crimes and that taking Mandrax made him feel empowered and aggressive.

Snyman said he managed to successfully threaten and subdue several men in the homes where he found his victims. He said during one incident he threatened the seven-year-old son of one of his victims that he would stab him if he did not go to sleep.

Snyman pleaded guilty to 24 counts, resulting in him being sentenced to five terms of life imprisonment and 68 years on charges of rape, robbery and housebreaking.

In his confession, Snyman said he became homeless in 2011.

“I started living on the streets of Kwazakhele. I was using Mandrax.

“I was under the influence of Mandrax when I raped all these woman but I knew it was wrong.”

The women were between the ages of 20 and 60. “I want to apologise to the victims for what I have done to them. I am sorry for the hurt I caused them and their families.”

In his confession, he described his crimes in great detail.

“On March 13 2011 at about 3.30am I broke into the [first complainant’s] house and found her sleeping.

“I broke into the house with the intention to steal but I changed my mind and decided to rape her.

“I took the blanket off the bed. She woke up and asked what I wanted. I pretended to have a firearm. I threatened her with violence and told her to remove her clothes which she did.”

He admitted to raping her twice.

“On June 18 2012 at 1am in Kwazakhele, I broke into the house of the [second complainant]. My intention was to steal but once I was inside I realised the complainant was at home and decided to rape her.

“I went to the kitchen looking for a knife . . . I threatened to stab her and she screamed. I then immediately pushed her into a bedroom and I assaulted her by punching her in her face.

“She was resisting me but I strangled her and told her to be quiet. I then raped her.”

For the third incident, he said: “On September 20 2012 I took a knife and went to house.

I went into the bedroom and found the complainant who was hiding behind a couch.

“I decided I would rape her. I threatened her with the knife,” he said.

“He then took two phones and cash from her before taking her to another house where he raped her twice.

“On January 3 2013 I broke into a shack in Kwazakhele. I had a knife.

“I was moving around the house. This woke the complainant. I noticed she was with another man. I decided to rape her.”

He said he forced the woman out of the shack and made her lock her boyfriend inside. He raped her in the yard.

“Afterwards I asked her for her cellphone number. She said she did not have a phone. I then raped her again.

Two months later he went back to the woman’s house, again forced her to lock her boyfriend in the shack and raped her twice more.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said after Snyman’s arrest in 2014 for the rape of two teenagers – a 17- and 16-year-old – his reign of terror in the neighbourhood stopped.

He was already serving a 17-year sentence when sentenced yesterday.

“While in custody, his DNA sample, that was taken for the case, had been flagged on several open rape cases that were under investigation.

“This allowed detectives to link him, through DNA evidence gathered on the various crime scenes, to the other seven rapes,” Beetge said.

Motherwell cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie welcomed the sentence while calling on communities to speak out about criminals living among them.