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YOUNG HEROES COACH ARRESTED FOR RAPE OF PLAYER (13)

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MBABANE – A football coach has been arrested for allegedly raping one of his players who is aged 13.

Landani Zondo (51) of Kwaluseni coaches Young Heroes F.C under-13, 15 and 17 divisions. Zondo, who now stands accused of contravening Section 3 (1) of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act, is alleged to have committed the offence last month but was arrested recently. Section 3(1) stipulates that: “A person who rapes another commits an offence of rape and for purposes of this Act, the offence of rape is committed by a male person or a female person against another.”

According to the Act, an unlawful sexual act constitutes a sexual act committed under any of the following circumstances:  Under false pretence of fraudulent means, in respect of a person  incapable in law of appreciating the nature of the sexual act, duress, psychological oppression, fear or violence. The coach yesterday moved an urgent bail application at the High Court wherein he denied to have committed the offence. Zondo informed the court that he was arrested by police officers based at Sigodvweni Police Station on March 11, 2020.
He highlighted that according to the charge sheet it was alleged that he wrongfully and unlawfully committed a sexual act on the minor while at Ludzeludze area. Zondo stated that he was currently incarcerated at Zakhele Remand Centre in Manzini pending his trial.

Narrating the events leading to his arrest, Zondo claimed that on or about February 26, 2020 he received a call from a certain woman who said she was the mother of the complainant.  According to the coach, the complainant’s mother requested him to take care of her son because she needed to travel to attend a funeral. He alleged that the mother of the complainant informed him that she would be away for about two weeks. “The complainant’s mother requested me to look after him while she was away. Indeed the complainant came to my place of residence which is situated at my place of employment, Excelessiors Private School, at Mhlane. The complainant is a minor and he is about 13 years old,” submitted the accused.
Zondo went on to tell the court that the complainant lived with him for the full two weeks until his (complainant) mother called him (Zondo) to inform him that she was back.

Minor

Zondo further alleged that the complainant’s mother called him on March 11, 2020 and that the minor left the following day. He claimed that after the complainant had left, he called his mother to find out whether they had reunited and she responded to the affirmative. Zondo recounted that he was then called by the Matsapha Police who requested him to avail himself at the police station. He said he then proceeded to the police station where upon arrival he was accussed of raping the complainant.

Complainant

“I humbly submit that the only relationship I have with the complainant is that of player- coach and I coach Young Heroes FC under-13, 15 and 17 divisions of the young soccer players.  The complainant plays for my team and this is how I know him. That is how I accepted him coming to stay with me for two weeks while his mother had gone to attend a funeral,’’ submitted the accused. He alleged that they usually had training sessions at Kwaluseni Sports ground

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