Cape Town -
The 22-year prison terms handed to a taxi driver and his tout who went on a rape and robbery spree was small comfort to victims who had to wait nearly seven years for the case to be finalised.
The mother of one of the victims – who has since died in a car accident – was visibly upset when magistrate Lulumile Mdoda sentenced taxi driver Peter Andrews, 33, and his assistant, Tony Myburgh, 31, on Friday.
“No! It’s not fair. It’s not enough,” the Salt River mother shouted as she stormed out of the Cape Town Regional Court on Friday.
Crying uncontrollably, she said: “Life. I wanted life (imprisonment).”
She said it was tough to come to terms with what had happened, the fact that her daughter was dead, and that she had to take care of her three children.
A rape survivor who was at court for the two-day sentencing proceedings said she was happy the case was over.
“I waited for this day for almost seven years. I can move on now,” she said.
She was the men’s last victim. After they raped her and dropped her off, she took down the registration number of the taxi and notified the police.
The men were arrested that day – June 25, 2007 – and had been held in custody since then. This was the oldest case in the Western Cape in which the perpetrators had been in custody.
For 12 days in June 2007, the men had randomly targeted commuters who boarded their taxi en route from Bellville to Cape Town. In some instances, they drove off the specified routes and parked at secluded areas – including a cemetery, Goodwood Sports Ground and the shooting range on De Waal Drive – to rape and rob their victims.
In handing down the sentence, magistrate Mdoda imposed the minimum sentence of 15 years in jail for each of the counts of aggravated robbery, as well as 10 years in custody for the attempted rape charges of which they were convicted.
However, the men escaped a life sentence for the instances in which both of them raped the women. This was classified as gang rape, and carried a minimum penalty of life in prison.
Mdoda saw fit to deviate from the prescribed minimum because he said there were exceptional and compelling circumstances for doing so.
These included that the men had been in jail for nearly seven years, that they were first offenders, and that none of the rape victims had been seriously injured.
“But the psychological trauma is understandable and will remain with them for a long time,” Mdoda said.
He also could not rule out that the use of drugs might have affected their actions.
“Despite this, the rape convictions remain extremely serious. They deserve a long term of imprisonment.”
The men were sentenced to 22 years in jail for each of the six counts of rape they were convicted of, 15 years for each of the six counts of aggravated robbery between them, and six months for each of the two counts of theft.
Myburgh received an additional three years for indecent assault, and Andrews a further 10 years for each of the two counts of attempted rape against him.
The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.