Pretoria – The Malamulele Regional Court, in Limpopo, has convicted and sentenced a 38-year-old man to life imprisonment for the rape of a 19-year-old “mentally-challenged” woman.
The identity of the rapist is withheld to protect the victim as she falls under a vulnerable group.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Limpopo, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said during the trial, the accused man pleaded not guilty.
“The court heard that on 1 July, 2017, in Mudavula village, the accused was in the homestead of the victim with her uncle, drinking alcohol in the evening. He saw the victim going to the pit toilet behind the house and followed her, he forcefully undressed her in the toilet and raped her,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
“After the ordeal, he left the victim and continued drinking with her uncle. The victim came out of the toilet crying and reported the matter to her aunt.”
The family called the police, and the accused man was arrested the same day.
State advocate Norman Makhubele relied on DNA evidence to link the accused man, and the victim impact statement from Giyani Court preparation officer, Carol Tshikhudo.
“He also relied on clinical psychologist, Lungile Malatji for evidence to prove that the victim is ‘severely mentally retarded’,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
In aggravation of the sentence, Makhubele submitted that the crime statistics of rape and sexual violation of women and mentally-challenged persons in South Africa are very high.
“The fact that this person was ‘severely mentally retarded’ was one of the huge aggravating factors that the State relied on. He (Makhubele) further said that in 2011, the victim was raped and conceived a child; however, she could not tell who the perpetrator is,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
“She is a vulnerable victim who cannot identify the father of her child, she can’t even bath or carry out any household duties. Her aunt is taking care of her.”
The prosecution therefore, urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.
The National Prosecuting Authority in Limpopo has welcomed the sentence, and applauded the “good work” done by Makhubele, and investigating officer, Sergeant Kenny Makhubele of the Giyani Family Violence and Child Protection Unit.