Deon Neo Masetlo was sentenced to life imprisonment and a further five years by the Schweizer Reneke Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Masetlo was also declared unfit to possess a firearm and his name will be entered in the register of sexual offenders.
The crime took place at Ipelegeng on July 20, 2018, when Masetlo came across the complainant and grabbed her while hurling insults at her.
He instructed her to go with him to an unknown location. She tried to escape but failed, falling and injuring herself.
He then took out a knife and threatened her to the point that she gave in and walked with him. The victim knew the accused by sight as one of the gang members in Ipelegeng.
“Along the way, she saw people sitting outside in a yard, and she managed to run and ask for help. He followed her and threatened some of the men who were reprimanding him,” NPA regional spokesperson Henry Mamothame said.
Masetlo assaulted the girl and told the men that she was the mother of his children.
“He then took her to a house where he repeatedly raped her. He only allowed her to leave in the morning after she promised to come back.
“The matter was reported to the police and Masetlo was later arrested and denied bail. He pleaded not guilty to all charges,” Mamothame said.
In aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Mpho Sephapo argued that the victim was only 17 and was pregnant, urging the court not to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.
“He further argued that the accused had an opportunity to leave when he was reprimanded at the house where the victim sought refuge,” Mamothame added.
Magistrate Patricia Rangwako agreed with the state and remarked that women and children had a right to freedom of movement, without fearing for their lives.
She highlighted the important role that the court must play in protecting the most vulnerable members of society.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Rachel Makhari, and the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, lauded Sephapo, Warrant Officer Tello Hlatswayo of the SAPS and other role-players for bringing the perpetrator to book.
“They highlighted the plight of women as a pandemic that needs to be curbed,” Mamothame said.