A resident of Otjimbingwe in the Erongo region pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, alternatively contravening the Combating of Immoral Practices Act, three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and three counts of assault by threat.
Jackson Katjombe (36) is accused of raping three sisters, one a disabled woman aged 29, and two girls aged 14 and eight, respectively, between January and September 2018 at a farm in the Otjimbingwe area.
It is further alleged that he physically assaulted his victims, and threatened to kill them should they report the alleged rapes to anyone.
The 29-year-old is disabled, and has the mental capacity of a six-year-old child. She cannot walk, and crawls around on the floor to get to anywhere, while she also cannot use her arms. She is totally dependent on her siblings for her care.
One of the sisters – not a victim – told the court that her mother and father went to the farm in 2011 after her father retired, and took the disabled girl with them. They, however, left the other two behind as the youngest was still a baby at that stage, and the 14-year-old was at school.
She testified that during 2013, the 14-year-old dropped out of school after she failed grade 7, and could not get placement at a school for slow learners. She thus went to the farm to stay with their parents. The younger one was at that stage already at the farm, the witness added. According to the woman, who may not be named to protect the identity of the alleged victims, her father returned to Windhoek during 2017 while her mother remained at the farm with the three girls. During 2018, she said, her mother became ill and had to be hospitalised in Windhoek, leaving the three girls on their own at the farm. When her mother realised that she would not recover from her illness, she instructed the witness to go and fetch the girls from the farm.
At her house, she put the three girls in a shack in her backyard, the witness testified, adding that she could heard noises from the shack every night, and would find the girls crying and saying they are afraid. She said it got so bad that she had to move them into the main house.
The woman further testified that as the disabled one could not wash herself, that task normally fell onto her. So, the first time she bathed her sister, she realised that the girl was no longer a virgin. When she asked her about it, the victim replied that the accused forced himself upon her and “slept with her.” She said her sister informed her that every time the accused came to their house, he would grab her arms, put his hand over her mouth and lift up her dress, pull down her underpants, and force himself onto her. “He is too strong for me, and I can’t stop him,” the woman said her sister told her.
After she reported all this to the Gender-Based Violence Unit, she decided to question all three girls as they stayed together at the farm.
When she asked the youngest one, she was told that the accused came to visit them, and “do it to them.”
The case continues today with the witness still in the box.
Katjombe remains in custody, and is represented by Tjigairi Kaurivi.
The state is represented by Anita Meyer, with Windhoek High Court Judge Herman January presiding.