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Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Regional Court has sentenced a 47-year-old man to life imprisonment for raping his biological daughter, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.

NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said in a statement that the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, had been charged with one count of rape, alternative incest, one count of display of child pornography, as well as sexual grooming of a child.

The man was convicted on the charge of rape which he committed over a period of time during 2013, as well as sexual grooming of a child.

Mjonondwane said that the 16-year-old fell pregnant due to these incidents, as her father continued to deny the allegations despite being linked by DNA.

“The accused disputed the DNA results. An independent laboratory re–tested the results, and once again was positive linking the accused.”

State prosecutor Patrick Morris argued that a heinous crime had been committed on innocent children who were dependent on adults for protection. “This is the worst kind of abuse. The father who should protect his child raped her, impregnated her and then the final insult – attempted to make her a liar in a court of law.

“Your worship, it is in the interest of justice and that of society to impose harsher sentences to curb violent crimes against women and children. We cannot ignore the public outcry and their justified concerns as our courts are flooded with rapes and murders of children, seeking drastic measures in that regard,” he said.

Mjonondwane said the State asked the court not to deviate from imposing the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment as it was convinced that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances present, justifying such departure.

“The NPA is satisfied that the court arrived at a just sentence that is proportionate to the seriousness of the crime.”

Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng Local Division, Advocate Andrew Chauke, welcomed the sentence, saying: “This sentence comes at a time when the South African nation is in shock due to the nature of attacks perpetrated against women and children and therefore serves to reassure communities out there that the NPA remains committed in delivering a victim-centric service.”