The South African Police Service says the case of former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Patrick Luindula, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at LaBoom night club in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, has been escalated to provincial level “as a matter of urgency”.
Speaking to News24, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said Gauteng police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela instructed that the case be handled by senior investigators who would be “guiding the follow-up investigation towards ensuring that the case is prosecutable”.
This comes after Luindula who, although he was arrested on Tuesday, did not appear in court because the matter was not put on the roll. Prosecutors instructed the case be sent back to police for further investigation.
The National Prosecuting Authority also confirmed this.
Luindula was released hours after his arrest.
He said, once he became aware of the charges against him, he tried to hand himself over at four different police stations before an officer took his statement.
He was allowed to leave all four times, to his own confusion.
Luindula maintains his innocence in the case but believes the police were handling it too lightly.
“This is rape we are talking about in a country where women and children are being killed every day, it’s almost like nobody is taking it seriously,” he told News24.
“I am so shocked that a rape has been taken so lightly.
“Obviously as the person being accused, I should be very happy that I’m let go and they’ve left me to go home but it’s shocking,” he said.
Peters confirmed that Luindula arrived at the Boksburg North police station on Monday.
“The required forensic procedure was conducted on this day in line with the investigation of rape cases.
“As soon as the skeleton docket was assigned to the investigating officer, the member immediately started with the investigation which included obtaining statement from all relevant parties,” Peters said.
She added: “On the next day, on Tuesday 3 December 2019, the accused returned to Boksburg North SAPS where he was processed and detained, pending his anticipated court appearance before the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.
“It is important to highlight that an arrest can never be effected to punish an accused person [on the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty].
“The suspect did not appear before court and was subsequently released from police custody as the matter was not placed on the court roll with instructions from the prosecutor for further investigation by the police.”
The sister of the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained to News24 what happened on that night.
She said Luindula lured her sister to the parking lot of the club, saying her daughter might be waiting there.
When they could not find her, he allegedly advised her that there was an exit gate leading back to her car and he led her to a passage.
“Walking down the passage they shared small talk and he told my sister what his name was and what his profession is.
“Approaching the gate, the man turned to face my sister and cupped her face in his hands and started to kiss her.
“He then pushed her towards the wall, put his hand down her pants and continued to kiss her. She kept saying: ‘No’,” the sister said.
She added that he had covered her mouth with his so that her protests were muffled until “she eventually froze and did not put up a fight”.
He then ushered her in through a smaller pedestrian gate to what seemed to be a rubble site. With her face against the wall “he pulled her pants down and had his way with her”.
Luindula reportedly maintains his innocence, saying while he did have sex with a woman on the night, it was consensual.