Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Society for the Blind has made a plea for the harshest sentence to be handed down to a man who was recently convicted of raping his blind neighbour.
General manager Bheki Jele said that this particular case was one that could be used as an example to deter other like-minded would-be perpetrators of such crimes.
“An example to say that if you do something wrong to a disabled person, you will be punished like any other person. A harsh and long sentence will deter others because usually people do this especially to blind people because they know they will not be able to point them out, so they use this to their advantage.
“A sentence that will be an example to say that a disabled person is a person like any other person; if you rape them or abuse them you will face a similar or higher sentence as some who raped a non-disabled person,” he said.
On Wednesday, Petros M Mokoena appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court after he was convicted of the rape on Friday.
A social worker’s report, which would have an impact on the kind of sentence he is handed, was still outstanding ahead of his sentencing, which is expected on August 24.
Last year in January Mokoena was caught committing the crime by the victim’s son, who found him topless in his mother’s bed; Mokoena offered R1 000 to the son before managing to flee, leaving behind some of his belongings.
The State’s evidence was that Mokoena left behind a backpack, sandals, and a golf shirt.
Mokoena, who was a family friend, entered the home and went into the woman’s bedroom. During the trial, the victim had said she recognised Mokoena’s voice.
The court heard how the woman’s son, after finishing the washing, walked into the house to hear struggling noises.
And when he entered her room he found Mokoena raping his mother.
Mokoena, who had been topless when escaping from the victim’s house, came across a member of the community while fleeing, who asked him what the matter was, to which he replied that the victim’s children had mugged him, taking his clothes.
He maintained that he did not rape the victim but they had consensual sex, adding that following this the victim’s son walked in on them and assaulted him.
Jele welcomed the conviction, adding that usually in cases such as these either the police or the court favours the perpetrators, leaving the victim marginalised.
“This was simply because in such cases questions such as whether you know or did you see the person who raped you are asked and as a blind person obviously you can’t see someone who abused you.”