January 14 1999
South African cricketer Makhaya Ntini to be charged with rape
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 14 (AFP) - South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini is to be arrested on Friday and brought before court in the south coast city of East London to be charged with rape, a senior prosecutor said Thursday.
Les Roberts, director of prosecutions in Eastern Cape province, said a warrant had been issued for Ntini's arrest and would be executed on Friday. After a brief hearing in the East London Magistrate's Court, Roberts told public SABC radio, the case would be referred to the more senior Regional Court.
Ntini is alleged to have raped a 21-year-old student at a cricket ground on December 1.
On Wednesday, Roberts announced his intention to prosecute the cricketer, but did not name him. A number of newspapers, however, revealed his identity on Thursday, leading Roberts to confirm that it is indeed Ntini.
He said in an earlier statement he had deliberated for a month over a decision on whether to prosecute, following a police investigation into the incident, which allegedly took place at Buffalo Park cricket ground in East London.
Buffalo Park is the home of the Border cricket team, of which Ntini is a member. Ntini originates from Mdingi, near King William's Town, and was spotted by Border development programme staff when they held a mini-cricket clinic in the township in 1993. The same year he was selected for the Border U-15 team.
He advanced to the Border U-19 squad in 1994-95 and in 1995 was selected for the South African Schools XI on their tour of England and India. He made his debut for Border against England in their 1995-96 tour.
He was later selected for the South African A team and his big break came when he replaced injured Boland player Roger Telemachus on South Africa's tour of Australia in 1997/98.
Ntini was selected to represent South Africa on their tour of England last summer. A loss of form has seen him excluded from the South African team that has destroyed the West Indies during their current tour of South Africa, winning four of the four Test matches played so far.
Neither Ntini nor his lawyer have been contactable. United Cricket Board managing director Ali Bacher, who has backed the player publicly, has not immediately commented.