Odwa Nkololo
Cape Town - Children’s rights advocacy groups have praised hefty sentences for child rapists and killers handed down by judges in the Western Cape High Court. Ilitha Labantu spokesperson, Siyabulela Monakali, said the recent sentences were indicative of the level of seriousness and urgency that the justice system has applied to cases of violence against women and children.

“These lengthy sentences are also indicative of the continued pressure that the judiciary has been receiving from civil society organiations like Ilitha Labantu by making urgent calls for action to the judiciary not to give perpetrators light sentences.

“We certainly hope that these trends continue until there is a uniform agreement from the judiciary with regards to how cases of rape and particularly violence perpetrated on women and children should be treated,” he said.

In at least four rape and murder cases the convicted persons received life sentences.

Judge Kate Savage said the courts would show no mercy to rapists and it was the court’s responsibility to protect women and children.

Odwa Nkololo, who was convicted of killing and raping 4-year-old, Iyapha Yamile, and the rape of another 7-year-old girl, received two life sentences for each of the rapes.

About two weeks ago, Andrew Plaatjies, pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of 13-year- old Rene Romans from Lavender Hill. He got a life sentence for rape and another for murder.

Minentle Lekhata’s killer, Xolani Lantu, was handed two life sentences for two rape counts and another life sentence for her murder.

Andrew Plaatjies
Xolani Lantu

Rape Crisis’s Jeanne Bodenstein said one of the ways to address crime and sexual violence is through a strong criminal justice system that sends a message to perpetrators that rape will not be tolerated.

“We believe that specialised sexual offences courts and specialised investigations go a long way in ensuring convictions. Increased conviction rates and harsher sentences are key. The necessary support to survivors will ultimately restore faith in the criminal justice system,” she said.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, said the judiciary acknowledged that rapes require a firmer response.

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Cape Argus