Pretoria - A Refilwe hawker who raped three schoolgirls and two women at gunpoint after breaking into their homes received a double life sentence in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo sentenced 34-year-old Oupa Mashigo to life imprisonment for raping two girls, aged 12 and 15, and 118 years' imprisonment on 14 further charges ranging from rape to kidnapping, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
One 18-year-old victim was still at school when Mashigo raped her twice after breaking into her house in KwaMahlanga where she lived with her two younger siblings after the death of their parents.
The orphans had to move out of the home where they grew up, out of fear that Mashigo would return and attack them again.
He had dragged his 15-year-old victim from the bed where she was asleep and raped her in bushes outside her house.
According to a social worker, she still had panic attacks and nightmares about the incident.
His 12-year-old victim was not only physically injured but now had symptoms of post-traumatic stress and distrusted even her own brothers.
One adult victim had to move out of her home and went to live with church members because she feared he would come back.
A single mother of four children, who was raped after Mashigo knocked her unconscious with a firearm, still felt her family was in danger.
However, she told a social worker that she felt like a hero because she was the one who had Mashigo arrested.
Mashigo pleaded guilty to the charges after being linked to all of the rapes through DNA evidence.
Teffo said the fact that he had not used a condom showed his total disregard for his victims.
Many of them had to go on anti-retrovirals after he had raped them.
Teffo described Mashigo's deeds as cruel and senseless, adding that she did not believe he had shown any true remorse.
“You targeted female homesteads where you ensured there would be no resistance. You took advantage and disrespected vulnerable members of our society,” she said.
“You invaded their privacy, murdered their self-respect and destroyed their physical and mental integrity and security.
“Your actions have haunted them and their families and subjected them to mental torment for the rest of their lives. They will never be the same.”
Teffo said Mashigo's victims had lives prior to the incidents and had their self-respect, dignity and sense of security. All this was taken away.
“They now have to watch their movements and lock themselves in their homes, even during the day. They live in fear. Their lives have drastically changed,” she said.
“They cannot live freely and peacefully in their homes as before. They do not trust anyone.”
Teffo said serial rapists and murderers were regarded by society as inherently evil and were the most feared and loathed criminals in society, which demanded protection from the courts against them.