The Benoni Regional Court has sentenced a 36-year-old rapist from Etwatwa in Gauteng’s East Rand to one life term in prison after he was convicted for raping a five-year-old girl.
The magistrate also ordered that the rapist’s name be added onto the national register for sexual offenders. The name of the convicted rapist is withheld to protect the minor.
“The man was staying in the same yard as the victim, at a shack behind her house, after the mother of the minor offered him a place to stay when he was homeless,” said Lumka Mahanjana, Gauteng regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“On July 2, 2019, while the mother was not at home, the man called the five-year-old, together with her six-year-old cousin to his shack. When the two minors got to the shack, he asked them to lie on top of the bed, but the six-year-old refused and stood at the door,” she said.
The NPA said the 36-year-old man then proceeded to undress and rape the five-year-old girl, in the presence of her cousin.
When the mother arrived later, the cousin reported the incident.
“The mother took the minor to the doctor where it was confirmed that indeed the child was raped. She then went to the police to report the matter. After investigations, the man was arrested on July 6, 2019 and has been in custody since,” said Mahanjana.
In court, the rapist pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“Through his attorney he asked the court to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence, because he has two children, aged 16 and 18, that he needs to take care of,” said Mahanjana.
On the other hand, prosecutor Refiloe Neluonde read in court the Victim Impact Statement prepared by a social worker, which stated that the child “suffered” as a result of what the man did.
“The mother had to remove the shack because it reminded the child of what had happened and made her cry. Furthermore, the mother said the man took advantage of her kindness as she took him in when he was homeless,” the court heard.
Neluonde told the court that the man committed a serious offence.
“Women and children constantly live in fear for their lives because of the surge of gender-based violence (GBV). Furthermore, the mother was paid by evil acts for showing kindness,” Neluonde submitted.
Therefore, she asked the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment.
Magistrate Bettina Pulane Maredi agreed with the State, that the offence committed by the man was “serious”.
In the end, she sentenced the 36-year-old man to life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, director of public prosecutions in Gauteng, advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi has welcomed the sentence, adding that it will hopefully send a strong message “that crimes against children and women are addressed decisively by the courts”.
Mzinyathi saluted the “good work” done by the prosecutor, Neluonde, and the investigation officer, Sergeant Kaizer Koantle Mbele, which led to the conviction and sentencing.