Pretoria - A man who raped 15 women, including an 11-year-old child while he was masked, has turned to the North Gauteng High Court to appeal against his life sentence for raping the girl, stating that he deserved a lesser sentence because he came from a poor background and was a first-time offender.
Fidus Bongani Mthembu, 26, was however, happy with the 10 years imprisonment he received for raping each of his other 14 victims. While this left him with a total of 140 years’ imprisonment, the lower court at the time ordered that some of the sentences run concurrently and that he serve an effective 70 years of the 140 years.
While confirming the life sentence for raping the child, Judge Tatu Makgoba did overturn the effective 70 years. The judge said the result of this would be that Mthembu will first have to serve his life sentence and then start serving 70 years. He said that in terms of the Correctional Services Act, any sentence of incarceration to be served by an accused runs concurrently with a life sentence imposed on that person.
Mthembu was convicted in the Benoni Regional Court for the series of rapes which occurred in Daveyton between June 11, 2009 and January 22, 2011. He accosted his victims and their partnersat gunpoint and forced them into the bushes. He tied the men with their own clothing and blindfolded the women. Mthembu then raped the women while their partners watched helplessly. He always wore a mask.
The 11-year-old was accosted by Mthembu, who was masked with a scarf, while she was walking along a street. He stopped her and pointed a firearm at her. He forced her to a nearby sport stadium where he threatened to shoot her because she refused to undress.
After the rape he ran away.
Mthembu asked for mercy as his father was shot when he was a little boy and his mother left their home, leaving him with a cruel uncle.
The court, however, said rape was inherently horrific, but raping a child was worse.