Monday, May 20, 2024
23.5 C

Disabled woman allegedly raped


… Accused granted bail amid victim’s fears

Relebohile Makhetha

Santile Makhetha stands accused of a reprehensible crime—raping Lerato Ranthako, a mentally disabled woman, on March 10th this year at Mantša-tlala, Ha Ntsi in the district of Maseru.

Makhetha faces charges under section 15(1)(a) read with section 32 of the Sexual Offences Act 3 of 2003. Section 15(1)(a) stipulates that engaging in a sexual act with a disabled person constitutes an offence.

According to the charge sheet, Makhetha allegedly and intentionally engaged in an unlawful sexual act with the mentally disabled Ranthako, violating the provisions of the act.

In an interview with this publication this week, the project coordinator of the Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of Disabled (LNFOD), Rabasotho Moeletsi, expressed profound concern regarding the prevalent incidence of rape, particularly targeting women and girls living with disabilities, citing an alarmingly high rate of occurrence.

Moeletsi urged Basotho to exhibit courage and promptly report such incidents, emphasising the importance of reporting “not only to individuals with disabilities but to the entire community.”

Furthermore, he remarked on the “encouraging trend” of increased reporting, noting that reporting instances of abuse against disabled individuals was not customary. He indicated that “this positive shift indicates a growing awareness and education within society, particularly regarding the reporting of rape against mentally disabled individuals”.

He added: “Firstly, I acknowledge that everyone is entitled to be granted bail. However, on the opposing side, I assert that the victims, particularly those living with the accused individuals, may experience oppression. This raises concerns regarding the impact on these victims, prompting questions about the support and protection they receive in such circumstances.”

In court on Tuesday, Magistrate ‘Makopano Rabale addressed the victim’s concerns, who opposed granting bail to the accused due to fears of potential repeat offenses. The victim specifically feared the risk of further assault.

As a result, it was decided that Makhetha should secure alternative accommodation and relocate from the village. The accused’s sister, residing in Ha-Mabote, pledged to provide accommodation and support for her brother.

Makhetha was granted bail in the amount of M4000.00, which he was able to pay. The Crown, represented by ‘Mamotloheloa Rabale, requested that the case be adjourned until April 30 this year, citing the incomplete investigations.

- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article

Send this to a friend