Gun-wielding charismatic pastor convicted of rape and robbery

Upon his arrest, police discovered he was out on bail in another rape case

12 March 2021 - 11:31
Chris Derrick Gabisani Xaba will be sentenced next week for raping and robbing a woman hitchhiker after he offered her a lift. Stock photo.
Chris Derrick Gabisani Xaba will be sentenced next week for raping and robbing a woman hitchhiker after he offered her a lift. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/EVGENYI LASTOCHKIN

A charismatic pastor who threatened a hitchhiker at gunpoint has been convicted of rape and robbery in the Witbank regional court in Mpumalanga.

Police said Chris Derrick Gabisani Xaba, 45, had offered his 39-year-old victim a lift in  December 2019.

The woman was hitchhiking, desperate to get to Nelspruit, and accepted what appeared at the time to be generous offer.

Xaba, who runs a charismatic church in Vlaklaagte near Kwamhlanga, had other plans.

“As soon as she got inside the car, Xaba [said] he needed to collect other commuters who were heading in the same direction,” said police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi.

“Little did she know the man had an evil plot against her and trouble was brewing,” said Hlathi.

He said Xaba drove to a secluded area at a farm near Witbank, then brandished a firearm and threatened to kill the woman if she did not co-operate.

“When the coast was clear, Xaba brutally raped the victim and robbed her of her personal belongings, including the clothes she was wearing,” said Hlathi.

Xaba then fired a shot into the air to scare his victim.

“The traumatised victim somehow managed to manoeuvre her way from the bushes to a house where she was offered help and taken to the nearest police station,” said Hlathi.

A case of rape and robbery was opened but the suspect was not known at the time and his victim did not know his vehicle’s registration number.

Hlathi said the tenacity of the police in their investigation paid off in March 2020 when they traced Xaba to his hiding place in KwaMhlanga. They allegedly found him in possession of two stolen cars.

They also discovered Xaba was out on bail in another rape case registered against him in Kwaggafontein in December 2019.

Xaba was convicted of rape and robbery on Thursday. He will be sentenced on March 19.

“The police management in Mpumalanga have welcomed the conviction and consider it a step in the right direction in the fight against gender-based violence,” said Hlathi.

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