Taxi driver and guard get life sentence for raping pupil

By Siyavuya Mzantsi Time of article published Apr 22, 2021

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Staff Writer

TAXI driver Giovanni Florence and a guard Jerome van Wyk have been handed a life sentence, for the rape of a matric pupil on her way home from attending extra classes.

The 17-year-old pupil had attended an extra classes at her school in the Kraaifontein area, on March 8, 2018, and arrangements were made that a teacher from her school will give her a lift home to Delft.

The teacher’s vehicle broke down on the way home. The teacher assisted her to get into a taxi, which Florence was driving and Van Wyk was aboard, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)

Florence did not stop at the place where the pupil was supposed to be dropped off and drove to a deserted place, where both of them raped her, according to specialist sexual offences prosecutor advocate Dercia Rabie.

The two 27-year-old men were arrested within days and were convicted on a charge of rape.

During the trial, advocate Rabie argued that the pupil was dependent on public transport to get to school and back home.

The pair acted opportunistically and took advantage of the pupil when she was alone in the taxi with them, said the NPA.

“South Africa is in a pandemic in respect of gender- based violence. As a result of this attack, the pupil has suffered immense trauma. The fact that she successfully completed her matric was not to the benefit of the accused. She showed strength, irrespective of the fact that it was difficult to concentrate at school.

“She became afraid to travel to school and back home. She indicated, in her victim impact statement, that she was afraid of men because of the incident,” Rabie argued.

Rabie added that the court was not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence, due to “flimsy reasons” provided by lawyers representing the accused.

The Parow Sexual Offences Court agreed, indicating in its judgment that substantial and compelling circumstances do not exist, before sentencing both to life imprisonment.

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