A 23-year-old man who raped a teenage girl and proceeded to gouge her eyes out, leaving her permanently blind, has been sentenced to an effective 30 years behind bars.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said Velisani Mngani was convicted and sentenced in the Eastern Cape High Court this week.
Mngani was found guilty of the rape of the 16-year-old victim.
NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said after the rape, he gouged the victim’s eyes out, leaving her permanently blind.
In a plea and sentence agreement, Mngani admitted that on April 15, 2022, he had been walking in a forest in the Ngombonqani Location in the Cabazana Area of EmaXesibeni, when he ambushed the victim.
“He admitted to dragging her deep into the forest and repeatedly raped her. The victim fought back, beating him on his body and fingers but he overpowered her,” Tyali said.
“After raping her, he decided to kill her to avoid being identified as they lived in the same area.”
Tyali said he strangled her with his hands and used a blunt object, stabbed her, poked her eyes out and left her for dead.
“The case was postponed several times, as Mngani had to be taken for psychiatric evaluation which confirmed that he was fit to stand trial and could appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.”
During argument for sentencing State advocate Chumile Mkentane said the victim’s life had been turned around - in that she was dependent on her family’s assistance and had to be moved to a school for people living with disabilities in Pretoria.
“The court, however, took into consideration mitigating factors and agreed that there are substantial and compelling circumstances justifying the departure from the imposition of the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment.”
Mngani was sentenced to 30 years for rape, 13 years for robbery, eight years for attempted murder and five years for kidnapping.
All the sentenced will run concurrently and the accused will serve an effective 30 years behind bars.