Exclusive: Serial rapist dies in holding cells after pleading guilty

There was drama at the North West High Court on Wednesday afternoon when serial rapist Johannes Jojo Shabangu collapsed in the court’s holding cells and died.

Shabangu pleaded guilty to more than 25 charges earlier in the day.

The 35-year-old was making his second appearance in the trial that started on Monday at the high court which is sitting in Ga-Rankuwa magistrate’s court, northwest of Pretoria.

Earlier in the day, his attorney from Legal Aid South Africa TG Sekgonyana read his guilty plea, admitting to having committed crimes which include 14 counts of rape and 11 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The crimes were committed from 2012 to 2019 in the Winterveldt area, where he targeted women who were in the company of their boyfriends or companions.

Together with his accomplice, Shabangu would rob them at gunpoint, assault the males and proceed to rape the women. Thereafter his accomplice would also rape them.

The youngest victim was 15 at the time of the rape.

He had given different versions about who his accomplice was or accomplices were, telling the police at one point that he did not use only one individual.

Handing down his judgment, judge Andre Peterson said he was satisfied that Shabangu pleaded guilty to the charges after he was linked through DNA evidence.

Peterson said he was not surprised that Shabangu couldn’t remember the details of each charge, as he said in his statement given the number and amount of time that has lapsed.

It was during an adjournment to give the defence an opportunity to go through the victims’ impact statements that concerns were raised about Shabangu’s health.

Correctional Services officials were seen going in and out of the cells as murmuring was heard that Shabangu was foaming at the mouth and had convulsions.

Paramedics were called to the courtroom after lunch when his condition took a turn for the worst. Shabangu’s mother and girlfriend were at the court while all this unfolded.

North West National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame said he cannot comment on the matter.

“The NPA cannot comment pending the presentation of the declaration of death to the judge,” said Mamothame.


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