Durban - A man was sentenced to life in prison on Friday by the Empangeni Regional Court for raping a three-year-old girl, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

The girl was raped by Lindokuhle Msweli, 23, in October 2011, Captain Thulani Zwane said.

When her parents realised she was missing, they looked for her with the help of residents.

Msweli was found raping the child, near a river in Ntambanana, and he was taken to the police in the area.

He appeared in court and was later released on bail.

“While he was on bail, he raped a 55-year-old woman in Empangeni in November 2012,” Zwane said.

He was arrested and denied bail.

Msweli was further sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping the woman.