Notes: The Krugersdorp gang rapes — Another Tshabalala v S; Ntuli v S?
Author: Jolandi le Roux-Bouwer
Affiliations: Professor of Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 140 Issue 1, p. 1-16
This note assesses the application of the common purpose doctrine to the crime of gang rape. The recent gang rape of eight women in West Village, Krugersdorp on 28 July 2022 received wide media coverage. If and when there is a prosecution, the courts will have to adjudicate on the application of the common purpose doctrine to the newly defined statutory crime of rape. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment) Act 32 of 2007 (‘SORMA’) came into effect on 16 December 2007. The Constitutional Court, in Tshabalala v S; Ntuli v S 2020 (2) SACR 38 (CC), held that the common purpose doctrine was applicable to the autographic crime of common-law rape. Since the alleged crimes had occurred in 1998, SORMA was not applicable in this case. If the Krugersdorp gang rape incident reaches the Constitutional Court the case may provide the court with the opportunity to elucidate on the practical impact of its decision in Tshabalala v S; Ntuli v S.