Cape Town - The Western Cape High court on Wednesday sentenced a vicious child rapist to an effective 25 years behind bars for the brutal rape and attempted murder of a 14-year-old girl.
The picturesque small town of Grabouw was rocked by the attack in July last year when Pakiso Panyana, who was 22 years old at the time, carried out the assault on his victim, who cannot be named.
In a plea and sentence agreement, the full horror of the victim's ordeal, which took place in broad daylight, are revealed.
Panyana was at a park leading to the Grabouw cemetery when he saw his victim - wielding a screwdriver, he demanded her valuables and stole R20 from her. He then dragged her into bushes, tied her hands with her scarf and wire, and raped her twice. He then stabbed her in the neck with the screwdriver and repeatedly hit her on the head with rocks.
When he left the scene, “she was bleeding from her mouth and was convinced she was dead as she lay still”.
The young girl had pretended to be dead in a desperate bid to survive - her skull was cracked in five places. Her arm was fractured in three places.
The African News Agency (ANA) covered Panyana's first court appearance in the Grabouw Magistrate's Court, where the girl's mother described her injuries. She said her daughter's tongue was so swollen she could not eat or speak. “She was like a baby again. She couldn't eat or speak and when she tried to eat, she would vomit everything up,” the mother said. ‘
The teenager spent almost a month in hospital. She returned to school after being discharged from hospital. She has since made a full physical recovery.
The plea and sentence agreement stated that: “Even though she sustained severe injuries to her head, she is performing fairly well in school.”
Panyana was charged with robbery, kidnapping, two counts of rape, and attempted murder.
On the robbery charge, Western Cape High Court Judge John Hlophe sentenced him to 12 years. For kidnapping, he got five years, for the rapes 25 years, and for the attempted murder 10 years. The robbery, kidnapping and attempted murder sentences were ordered to run concurrently with the sentence for the rapes meaning an effective sentence of 25 years.
Judge Hlophe ordered that Panyana only be allowed to apply for parole only after 15 years behind bars. His name will also be added to the National Register for Sexual Offenders.
The victim and her family were not present at court, but State prosecutor Advocate Nokuzula Mbewana-Mthelelo said they had been informed and were satisfied with the sentence.
The accused's mother was present, but she refused to talk to the media, only saying it had been a very difficult time for her.