Pretoria - The conduct of a Pretoria mother who sold her two pre-pubescent daughters as sex slaves was “horrendous”, the High Court in Pretoria has heard.
After appealing her sentence the court ruled on Thursday that her term of life imprisonment was not disproportionate.
Acting Judge Tony Thobane and Judge Jody Kollapen confirmed the double life sentence imposed on the mother by a Pretoria regional magistrate in 2012 on two charges of being an accomplice to the rape of the children.
The 36-year-old Monument Park mother may not be identified to protect the identity of her daughters.
The judges also confirmed sentences totalling 34 years imposed for four charges of being an accomplice to the girl's indecent assault, and two counts of child abuse or abandonment.
The sentences will run concurrently with the woman's life sentence.
The girls were about four and six years old when their mother started selling them for sex and sex acts.
The sisters told the trial court how they were taken to different venues by their parents and made to dance in front of an audience in their underclothes.
They were forced to perform oral sex on some of the men. In some cases toy blocks were pushed into their genitals.
Some of the men involved removed their clothes, had sex with the girls and indecently assaulted them. Their mother was paid R100 for this.
The girls were forced to take photos of their father's genitals and to clean up after he had urinated and defecated on the carpet.
One of the children described the incidents as “unpleasant” and said they happened because “there was not a lot of food on the table”.
She said her parents had sold her because they did not love her.
When the girls complained to their mother about the pain they had to endure they were ignored.
The father did not appeal against his five-year sentence on charges of child abuse and indecent assault.
The children were removed from their parents' care in 2007 because they were neglected. The abuse came to light in 2008 when the eldest sister told a teacher about it.
The mother maintained the magistrate had overemphasised the interests of the public and did not take into account the time she had already spent in prison.
Thobane said it was clear the court could have imposed even heavier sentences on the charges of indecent assault and child abuse.
“The offences committed by the appellant (the mother) were horrendous. The complainants were minors. This court is their uppermost guardian. They were betrayed by their parents.
“The appellant was an accomplice to their rape and to their indecent assault. She also abused them or abandoned them.
“The serious and horrendous nature of the rape cannot be overemphasised.
“She failed to protect them, in fact, she facilitated their abuse by making them available for rape and sexual abuse,” Thobane said.