Judgment is expected today in the trial of a middle-aged Mozambican man who is accused of keeping a 15-year-old girl locked up in his shack as a sex slave and raping three other young girls.
The prosecution yesterday argued that the court should convict Raul Balele, 46, on seven charges of child rape and one of human trafficking.
Balele claimed the girl he allegedly held captive, repeatedly raped and impregnated had been “given” to him as a girlfriend by a close relative and they had consensual sex, but the state argued this version alone amounted to prima facie evidence against him.
The state said it was clear the victim was a child who had been removed from her family in Mozambique and brought to South Africa without documentation. Balele locked her up in his shack at the Sonop squatter camp near Brits, where he kept her isolated and she was dependent on him for her existence.
Circumstances had reduced the girl to submit to Balele as her “owner” and it was clear he had sexually exploited her. If the girl had come to South Africa willingly, there would have been no need to lock her up, keep her isolated or for her to escape and go to the police.
The court was also urged to reject Balele’s flat denial that he had raped his former girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter and that he had lured two other young girls to his shack and raped them as well.
All of the girls used anatomically correct male and female dolls to demonstrate to the court how Balele had raped them and their evidence was supported by medical evidence.
Balele’s former girlfriend testified she had caught Balele with his underpants around his knees on top of her naked daughter in the middle of the night, which corroborated the child’s version.
Counsel for the defence presented no argument about the charges relating to the 15-year-old girl, but argued there was “a lot of doubt” if the three other alleged victims had been raped and that Balele should receive the benefit of the doubt.