South Africa

Maverick Citizen

Another victim emerges in Cape modelling agency rape investigation

(Photo: Unsplash / Patrick Gillespie)

A second Cape Town girl has come forward adding to charges of rape faced by a 50-year-old man who used a modelling agency as a cover to lure children.

Nicholas Maré, a director of Tariro Model Management, was arrested after a 14-year-old girl had gone on 24 June 2020 for a photoshoot at the Loop Street, Cape Town premises of the agency, where she was allegedly raped.

At the time, police called for anyone who had been the victim of sexual violence in the modelling industry in Cape Town to come forward. On Tuesday 7 July, the investigating officer in the matter told a Cape Town magistrate that another girl had spoken up and that further counts of rape would be added to Maré’s charge sheet.

This emerged during a bail hearing where Maré’s legal representative argued that he should not be held at Pollsmoor prison as his life had been threatened and the risk of contracting Covid-19 was high. The State has indicated it will oppose bail.

The matter will resume on Thursday 9 July and gender activists have vowed to protest outside the court calling for a denial of bail.

The father of the 14-year-old victim told the Maverick Citizen that his family were traumatised and heartbroken.

The life of the Grade 7 learner changed irrevocably on 24 June when she went for a photoshoot at Maré’s studio. Police say the teen was allegedly raped by the 50-year-old man and swift reaction by the Family Violence, Child and Sexual Offences Unit led to his arrest.

“I must place it on record that I’m shattered. I love my daughters as I subscribe to the teachings and principles [that] your child is my child. I never thought in my wildest dreams a monster would lay his hands on my daughter, not just laying hands on her but also raped her,” the victim’s father said.

He had believed, as did many parents, that a modelling agency was a space that would “shape character and mould the finest character of beauty in young girls. Yet my daughter is scarred today.”

Legal practitioner and executive director of the Ukubavimba Foundation, Venice Burgins, said GBV was a scourge that affected men and women.

“The reality is that perpetrators and paedophiles or sex predators have havens where they exercise control over their victims. Once appointed in a position of power their victims endure abuse over a period until the victim can no longer endure and then only resort to expose the abuse,” she said.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday 7 July 2020, murder accused Leonard Mzingeli abandoned his bail application in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.

Mzingeli is accused of murdering 17-year-old Amahle Ouku on 20 June 2020. Her naked body was found lying in Albert Luthuli Street, Browns Farm.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Eric Ntbazalila, said the case against Mzingeli had been postponed to 6 October 2020 for further investigation.

Following a spike in gender-based violence (GBV) in the province, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz established programmes to create awareness.

This entailed the appointment of a full-time official within the Court Watching Brief Unit to monitor GBV and domestic violence related cases, establishing a campaign to increase volunteers at victim support rooms, investigate stipends to incentivize volunteers and conduct monitoring and evaluation.

Fritz said the successful prosecution of perpetrators of GBV depended on SAPS officials treating it with the seriousness it deserved and not to subject victims to a “secondary assault”.

“To this end, I have requested that the Western Cape Police Ombudsman JJ Brand investigate two cases of secondary victimisation at Langa and Site B in Khayelitsha. Brand has informed me that his investigation into the two reported cases is ongoing.”

The Western Cape Police Ombudsman has stated that both cases of alleged secondary victimisation would be included in a current investigation of the alleged failure of SAPS to provide sufficient victim support to victims of crime at the police stations in the Western Cape, Fritz said. DM/MC

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