BBC stands by its controversial 'Diepsloot rapist' documentary
WARNING: Graphic content - not for sensitive viewers
The BBC has rejected mounting allegations that its documentary about an HIV-positive serial rapist on the prowl in Diepsloot‚ north of Johannesburg‚ was fabricated.
The documentary – in which an HIV-positive man‚ David‚ admitted to raping more than 24 women to deliberately spread the disease – allegedly featured a cast of characters who were paid to act‚ believing they were in a drama series.
“The BBC has reviewed its production of the film which fully complies with our editorial standards‚” the broadcaster said in an e-mail to TimesLIVE.
“There was no scripting of interviews and all interviewees provided accounts with full consent. It is completely untrue that any money was paid to contributors to take part in this documentary. We stand by our journalism‚” the company said.
It offered no response to questions posed by TimesLIVE on whether it was investigating Golden Mtika‚ the documentary presenter.
A statement released by a community committee from Diepsloot‚ however‚ contradicts the BBC.
The statement‚ released on Thursday‚ alleged that the committee had met with Mtika and the people featured in the documentary along with the police.
“After long hours of deliberation on fact finding we came to the conclusion that the video was reckless and unbecoming and nothing on the video should be condoned or encouraged. Both parties were reckless‚ the stats reported were baseless and most of the facts said were unfounded. Although the reporter has been working hard to help police in previous cases‚ there was nothing that linked some of the footage to any rape‚” the statement from the community forum read.
“While we wait for the police to continue working on the case‚ both parties agreed to being reckless in portraying a community image in a bad way without verifying facts. Both parties involved have their own different version to the story and both are willing to come out publicly and apologise and the rest will be left to the police to do their further investigations.
The committee called for calm pending the finalisation of the matter.
Malawian-born Mtika has‚ according to his LinkedIn profile‚ spent over a decade working as a journalist.
In his profile‚ Mtika says he “currently work as a fixer for foreigner medias and have previously covered stories most on township violence (Mob Justices). Worked with retired journalist … from New York Times‚ Skynews Johannesburg as a fixer‚ Etc.”
The 43-minute-long documentary titled My Neighbour – The Rapist is centered around Diepsloot township where he resides‚ and exposes the scourge of rape in the community.
Mtika interviewed a neighbour‚ identified only as David – a self-proclaimed HIV-positive serial rapist who said on camera that he was intentionally raping woman to spread the disease as “he did not want to die alone.”
David claimed to have been a victim of sexual abuse himself‚ alleging that from the age of 14‚ police officers had started “treating him like a wife” and had sexual intercourse with him.
A woman was interviewed‚ revealing herself as David’s girlfriend. On camera‚ she said they had parted ways after he raped her‚ leaving her HIV-positive.
That man said to me I must come up with a story because he has been covering murders
The documentary showed how Diepsloot vigilantes dealt with suspected rapists in the community‚ mostly by beating them to death.
In an on-camera interview with Drum magazine however‚ the alleged serial rapist denied that he had ever raped a woman‚ and alleged that he was paid R350 to act in a drama series which he believed would be screened in the UK.
“That man said to me I must come up with a story because he has been covering murders. So I came up with the topic of rape‚ because he had done murders multiple times and he wanted something different‚” David told the magazine.
“He told me what to say. He had a script written on paper… he even read it to me first before we started shooting the documentary‚” he added.
David said he was assured the series would not be aired in South Africa but was shocked when he was told it was being broadcast and that he should flee the township.
Mtika referred all queries to his producer.
Following the release of the documentary‚ TimesLIVE contacted the police to ask if they were investigating the man who openly claimed to be intentionally infecting women with the HIV virus or had tracked down any of his victims.
Colonel Doniah Mothutsane said that police were still verifying the authenticity of the video.