A middle-aged Mozambican man who kept a 15-year-old girl locked up in his shack as a sex slave and repeatedly raped three other young girls was today convicted on a charge of human trafficking and seven of child rape.
Judge Vincent Ratshibvumo rejected the evidence of Raul Balele (46) that the 15-year-old Mozambican girl he kept captive in his shack at the Sonop Squatter camp near Brits in 2015 had consented to come to South Africa to be his wife.
He also rejected Balele’s claim that his former girlfriend, her 11-year-old daughter and two of her friends, aged 7 and 10, had conspired against him.
The Judge found that Balele had paid for the 15-year-old girl to travel to South Africa with the intention of exploiting her as a sex slave, which qualified as human trafficking.
He accepted the girl’s evidence that Balele had brought her and her mother – a relative of Balele – under the impression that she was coming to South Africa to work for him, but then kept her locked up and raped her for three days in a row.
She was already pregnant with Balele’s child when she managed to escape and laid criminal charges against him.
The Judge found that Balele had also raped his former girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter in his shack one night and that he had earlier raped the same girl and two of her young friends one after the other after luring them into his shack.
Balele’s former girlfriend caught him with his underpants on his knees on top of her naked daughter after waking up one night.
The court accepted the evidence of the girl and two of her friends that Balele had raped them one after the other in his shack one day while his girlfriend was away and had also raped them next to a river on previous occasions after they helped him to do his washing.
All of them at first kept quiet about the rapes because Balele threatened to kill them. They confessed the rapes to a neighbour after she became suspicious about the intimate way in which the girls were touching Balele.
The Judge said it was clear that Balele was willing to pay money and buy things for the children he preyed on to earn their loyalty without the sexual abuse being reported.
The trial continues.