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Prominent pastor convicted of rape and robbery


Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Mpumalanga

NELSPRUIT - A well-known 45-year-old respected man of the cloth from Vlaklaagte has been convicted of rape and robbery by the Witbank Regional Court on 11 March 2021.

His conviction spirals from a shameful incident in which a 39-year-old woman from Vosman who was hitchhiking at the time, became a victim under the hands of a man who was supposed to have displayed high moral standards towards her. The incident is said to have occurred on 29 December 2019, where this man, instead of helping the woman, raped and robbed her of her personal items at gunpoint.

The court heard how on that fateful day, Pastor Chris Derrick Gabisani Xaba from a charismatic church in Vlaaklaagte near Kwamhlanga, offered a lift to a woman who was desperate to get to Nelspruit. As soon as she got inside the car, Xaba patronised her that he needed to collect other commuters who were heading to the same direction as theirs. Little did she know that the man she got a lift from, had an evil plot against her and that trouble was brewing.

Xaba then drove to a secluded bush at a certain farm near Witbank where he drew out a firearm along the way and started behaving violently against the helpless woman. He further threatened to kill her should she resist to cooperate with his orders. When the coast was clear for him, Xaba brutally raped the victim and robbed her of her personal belongings, including the clothes she was wearing at the time. In order to scare the daylights out of her, he fired a gun shot before leaving her stranded.

The traumatised victim somehow managed to manoeuvre her way from the bushes until she reached a certain house where she was offered help and taken to the nearest police station. The matter was then reported accordingly and a case of rape was opened with an additional charge of robbery. At that time, the suspect was unknown, neither the registration number plate of the vehicle he was driving.

The tenacity of police in their investigation of the case eventually paid off as in March 2020, they made a breakthrough when they sniffed Xaba out from his hiding place in Kwamhlanga. During his arrest, police found him in possession of two stolen cars. They (police) also discovered that Xaba has another rape case which he committed at Kwaggafontein in December 2019 and he was in fact out on bail. They then presented these facts before the court in opposing his bail application and made the job easier for the state to succeed in having Xaba remanded in custody until his conviction on Thursday.

The police management in Mpumalanga have welcomed the conviction and consider it a good step in the right direction in the fight against Gender-Based-Violence. " What Xaba, who will be sentenced on 19 March 2021, has done to the victim, is cowardly and has put a shame to the high calling as he has exasperated the notion that some spiritual men cannot be trusted. We are elated though that at long last, he will feel the full grind of the law and become a good example to other men of the cloth who might dare to emulate his steps, " said  Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma.


Brigadier Leonard Hlathi