Nelspruit - The State will appeal against what it regards as a lenient sentence given to a repeat child molester.
Carl Lotter, 44, was found guilty of sexually abusing his friend's two daughters between 2006 and 2009.
He was sentenced in August to four years, which were suspended for five years, a Sapa correspondent reported.
This is despite the fact he already has a criminal record for sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl in 1998, for which he was also given a suspended sentence.
The appeal against the new sentence has been set down for February in the Nelspruit Regional Court.
Magistrate Erwin Sithole awarded the suspended sentence despite recommendations from two expert witnesses that Lotter be put behind bars this time.
Expert on psychologically motivated crimes, Colonel Petunia Lenono, had told the court Lotter deserved a jail term as he had a previous conviction and posed a threat to children.
Social services probation officer Junior Mavayeya also recommended Lotter be sentenced to direct correctional supervision.
But Sithole noted that Lotter had complied with the conditions of his previous sentence and did not commit a similar offence during the suspension period.
“He kept his trousers and zip tight until he finished the sentence. I believe that this time he'll also be able to comply with this condition, or I will have no alternative but to send him to direct imprisonment,” Sithole said.
Sithole also noted the defence's argument that while the girls' school performance suffered, they did not sustain any injuries.
Sithole also noted that Lotter suffered public humiliation and lost his job.
He decided not to fine Lotter, saying it would create the impression that convicted criminals could pay their way out of jail.
He said Lotter should continue attending sex therapy classes.
Sithole noted that the State had abandoned an initial rape charge against Lotter following his arrest in 2009.
The court heard that the two girls used to visit him at his house on numerous occasions, but separately when the abuses took place.
He was accused of touching the girls' private parts and of making them touch his.
The court heard how the girls were groomed by Lotter to believe that what they were doing was right.