A South African man has been charged with raping a lesbian to try and turn her straight.

The unnamed man appeared before Wynberg Regional Court today, the Sapa news agency reports.

He is not expected to be named until his trial begins and a hearing to set a trial date will be held on July 13th.

A report released in March last year suggested that there was a rise in ‘corrective rapes’ and assaults on lesbians in South Africa.

Charity ActionAid said women in Johannesburg and Cape Town were suffering an increase in homophobic attacks and sexual assaults which are seen as a form of punishment or “cure”.

Figures suggest there are an estimated 500,000 rapes in South Africa every year and for every 25 men accused of rape in the country, 24 walk free.

The most high-profile victim of corrective rape was Eudy Simelane, a well-known female football and gay rights activist.

She was stabbed to death in April 2008 after being robbed and gang-raped. Her body was left in a stream.

Themba Mvubu, 24, from Kwathema, was jailed for life in September 2009 for murder, robbery and being an accessory to the rape.