Durban - Police investigation and DNA analysis, which proved that a father had repeatedly raped and impregnated his 15-year-old daughter, has led to him being sentenced to life in prison.
The child born out of the incestuous relationship died at five months from severe malnutrition.
The father had told the Verulam Regional Court he was uneducated and did not know the rape was wrong, or that the baby had suffered from malnutrition.
The 45-year-old man, of Isnembe on the North Coast, was sentenced to life imprisonment by Magistrate Jenny Pillay on Thursday.
Pillay described the rape as morally repugnant and scandalous. In passing sentence, she said the aggravating circumstance was that the girl was only 15 when she was used by her father as an object for sexual gratification.
“She was also his biological daughter and a child that was conceived during the rape subsequently died of severe malnutrition.
“We need to send out a strong message to the broader community that this atrocious and heinous act of rape by fathers, will not be tolerated.”
The daughter had been living alone with her father after her mother died in 2010.
During this time, the father began raping his daughter, a Grade 6 pupil.
After the teen became pregnant, she moved in with her maternal grandmother. When asked who the father was, the girl told her grandmother that it was someone from the area who had left.
But, the grandmother was wary of her son-in-law and alerted police to her suspicions.
The girl gave birth to his child, in August 2011, at her grandmother’s house, in oThongathi (Tongaat). The baby died in January 2012.
Prosecutor Kaistree Ramsamujh said when the father was arrested by the Tongaat Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, in September, he denied any wrongdoing.
But DNA analysis proved he was the father of the child. In January, he pleaded guilty to the rape charge. The girl later admitted her father raped her.
The father’s defence was that he was uneducated and did not know he was doing wrong.
Said Pillay: “The fact that you were not formally educated is no excuse for using the child you brought into the world – the human being you were supposed to nurture and help become a healthy, useful member of society. You had no consideration for the well-being of the complainant or the child you were responsible for having conceived. One does not have to be educated to know the right thing to do.”
Pillay said the rape of young girls by their fathers was scandalous and had become prevalent in society.
“To right thinking people, it is morally repugnant. It has emerged as a malignant cancer seriously threatening the wellbeing and proper growth and development of young girls. It is a most serious threat to our social and moral fibre.”
Pillay said incestuous rape “exploits and perverts the very bonds of love and trust that family relation is meant to nurture”.