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Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal woman who was gang raped in the cottage where she lived alone wept as one of her attackers was sentenced to an effective 22 years in prison on Monday.
Mandlekhe Ngubane, 18, was sentenced for his crimes of rape, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances by Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Igna Stretch in connection with an attack in January.
Sentencing the youth, who was 17 at the time of the offence, Stretch said that Ngubane and his accomplice, Zamani Gumede, 42, behaved like animals when they attacked the 46-year-old woman.
“It is clear that the victim will never be the same again,” Stretch said.
The woman, accompanied by two companions, burst into tears when sentence was delivered. She declined to speak to the media, but hugged her companions outside the courtroom.
Stretch referred to the woman’s testimony in her judgment. She told the court that the attackers had killed one of her favourite dogs, who was trying to shield her from them when they confronted her.
The animal was struck with a stick with nails it it during the attack and died of its injuries a few days later.
The woman is receiving psychological counselling, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares and lives in constant fear of another attack.
She has had to change her entire lifestyle and she has given up her previous job.
Her one arm and hand are partly disabled as a result of nerve damage caused when the intruders beat her severely.
Out of fear of having contracted HIV, the woman said, she took anti-retroviral drugs for a few months, which made her nauseous. The woman has tested negative for the virus.
Ngubane and his accomplice broke into the woman’s farmhouse cottage early on January 5.
The youth had with a bush knife and a stick and Gumede carried a knife.
There were several dogs at the complainant’s premises.
The attackers forced open the door and found the complainant asleep in her bedroom.
They threatened to kill her and demanded money and valuables.
She resisted and they overpowered her, assaulting her with their hands and the stick.
To prevent her from struggling, they tied her hands to the headboard and her feet to the foot of her bed.
They both raped her twice and fled with goods, which included a watch,a camera, a cellphone, keys and clothing.
Gumede pleaded guilty to the rape earlier this year and was sentenced to life in prison.
Ngubane escaped a life term owing to his age at the time of the attack.