Cape Town - A serial rapist told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday that he was sorry for what he did and did not want to waste the court's time.
Thirty four-year-old Sikhangele Mki has pleaded guilty to 84 charges, which include 30 counts of rape, 27 of kidnapping, 12 of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and four of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
In his plea, he admitted to raping some of his victims more than once. Nine were under the age of sixteen, and the youngest victim was just 11-years-old.
“During the evenings, or early mornings, in question, I would follow the victims, grab hold of them, threaten them at knifepoint by holding a knife to their necks and would demand money and cellular phones. I would rob them of any money they had and take their cellular phones. I would take them to an isolated place and rape them, to wit, unlawfully and intentionally have non consensual intercourse with the victims. I have been shown photographs of places pointed out by some complainants as to where they were raped and some of these places are familiar to me.”
In some of the attacks, if his victims cried out for help or struggled, he punched or kicked them and in “isolated cases” he stabbed them in the arm and leg.
He committed the crimes between 2011 and 2015, and his victims were attacked between the areas of Khayelitsha and Delft.
Despite his brief apology at the start of pre-sentencing proceedings, the State called for 15 life sentences and an additional 110 years.
State prosecutor Nokuzola Mbewana-Mthelelo said his sentence should be a deterrent and the court should take into account the nature and prevalence of the offences.
The victims "were going about their business, they were defenceless. He does not deserve anything less than the life sentences he is facing".
She also told the court that the community had taken the law into its own hands and that five people, incorrectly identified as the serial rapist, had been killed in acts of mob justice. No arrests for those murders had been made.
Mki had been linked to the multiple rapes through DNA.
Mbewana-Mthelelo said the breakthrough in the investigation happened when Mki was given a five-year suspended sentence for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in 2014.
In terms of the recently passed DNA Act, police collect the DNA samples of convicted offenders and run them through their system. In Mki's case this was what positively linked him to the rapes.
She pointed out that just six months after he was sentenced, he continued his rapes, simply moving from Delft to Khayelitsha.
She told the court that he committed the offences with a knife and it was "hearbreaking" to see the devastating impact on his victims who had been left with physical and emotional scars.
"One victim said she became withdrawn, she kept indoors and developed a fear for men."
Another victim experienced difficulty with intimacy with her husband. She had been waiting outside her home when she was kidnapped and raped and had to move as she could not live there anymore".
Many of the victims blamed themselves, felt judged, and were afraid to walk the streets. One also had suicidal thoughts.
Earlier, probation officer Astrid Klaasse testified that during her interview with Mki, he could not explain why he committed the offences, but said that on some occasions he was intoxicated.
She said the father of two had a good upbringing, besides some family challenges, including his parents’ divorce.
Describing him as a peadophile who preyed on vulnerable young girls, she said society did not need people like this “and look to the justice system to ensure or promote their safety”.
Defence lawyer Bruce Morrison told the court that while his client was not a youngster, he was still a young man: "I submit that rehabilitation is always an option."
As Mki was led out of the courtroom in shackles, the mother of one of his victims shouted: "I hope you get life imprisonment."
She told ANA her daughter, who was 14-years-old when Mki raped her, had not come to terms with what had happened.
Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath will hand down sentence on September 14.