Pastor guilty of raping hitchhiker and leaving her naked after taking her clothes

A 45-year-old pastor has been found guilty of raping a hitchhiker, taking her clothes and leaving her naked in the bushes after violating her. When he was finally traced three months later, not only was he found to be in possession of two stolen cars but was found to be out on bail for a rape he committed the same month he raped the hitchhiker.

According to Mpumalanga Police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the rape victim is a 39-year-old woman from Vosman. On the 29th of December, 2019, the victim was desperately trying to get to Nelspruit and hitched a ride from Pastor Chris Derrick Gabisani Xaba. According to Hlathi, instead of helping the woman, Xaba raped and robbed her of her personal items at gunpoint.

As soon as the woman got inside the car, Xaba told her that he needed to collect other commuters who were heading in the same direction. Hlathi said Xaba then drove to a secluded bush at a farm near Witbank, where he drew out a firearm along the way and started behaving violently towards the “helpless woman”.

“He further threatened to kill her should she resist co-operating with his orders. When the coast was clear for him, Xaba brutally raped the victim and robbed her of her personal belongings, including the clothes she was wearing at the time. In order to scare the daylights out of her, he fired a gun shot before leaving her stranded and … naked,” said Hlathi.

The woman managed to run to a nearby house after her ordeal. She was offered help and taken to police station where cases of rape and robbery were opened.

“At that time, the suspect was unknown, neither the registration number plate of the vehicle he was driving. The tenacity of police in their investigation of the case eventually paid off as in March 2020, they made a breakthrough when they sniffed Xaba out from his hiding place in Kwamhlanga. During his arrest, police found him in possession of two stolen cars. They also discovered that Xaba has another rape case which he committed at Kwaggafontein in December 2019 and he was in fact out on bail,” said Hlathi.

According to Hlathi, these facts were presented before the court in opposing his bail application and made the job easier for the state to succeed in having Xaba remanded in custody until his conviction.

Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mondli Zuma said what Xaba did to the victim was cowardly and has demonstrated that some spiritual men cannot be trusted, defying his high calling.

“We are elated though that at long last, he will feel the full grind of the law and become a good example to other men of the cloth who might dare to emulate his steps, ” Zuma said.

Xaba will be sentenced on March 19.

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