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Pretoria - A serial rapist apologised to his victims and the community in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Oupa Mashigo, 33, of Refilwe, initially pleaded not guilty to 16 charges, including six of rape, but this week changed his plea and admitted that he had raped five women - one of them twice.

“I confirm that I have every intention to express my apology to all the complainants and the community at large but I know that cannot erase the pain I caused to them,” he said in a statement handed to court.

“I confirm that what I did was cruel, inhuman and immoral.

“I ... knew what I did was unlawful and could be punishable by the law.”

Judge Mmonoa Teffo convicted Mashigo on the six rape charges, one of kidnapping, five of housebreaking and four of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Mashigo admitted that between December 2009 and July 2012 he had broken into the homes of his victims in the early morning hours and threatened them with a firearm before raping and robbing most of them of their personal belongings and money.

His victims included an 11-year-old girl who was home alone with her brother and a 15-year-old girl who was dragged into the bushes near her home, raped and made to kneel down with a gun pressed against the back of her head before she was allowed to return home.

Mashigo threatened to kill all of his victims if they screamed.

He followed his last victim home from a tavern and raped her after knocking her unconscious with his firearm when she fought back.

Mashigo's victims who attended the proceedings were unimpressed with his apology and said he had not shown any remorse and was laughing and joking earlier in the week.

All of them still battled with the aftermath of being raped and felt Mashigo should be sentenced to life imprisonment, especially as they felt there were more victims out there who had not yet come forward.

“His nickname is izinyokanyoka (which means snake) because he is so sneaky and dangerous.

“It seems as if he is a very angry person. I woke up with him next to me with a firearm. I fought back but he hit me on the head and raped me while I was unconscious.

“I will be able to forgive him. I'm supposed to, but not yet,” she said.

She told reporters they all felt relieved when Mashigo admitted guilt, but she would have wanted to look him in the eyes and asked him why he had chosen them as victims.

Several of the victims said they had begged Mashigo not to harm them, but he threatened to kill them and ignored their pleas while carrying on with his evil deeds.

One woman was raped in front of her seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old sister and Mashigo had also threatened to kill her daughter.

What frightened her so much was that he spoke the local dialect and knew her by name although she had never met him before.

The young woman who was 15 when he raped her said she feared all men who used the local dialect and once lost it and started screaming when they discussed rape in class and she realised people thought rape victims were stupid.

She thought she had forgiven him but realised that she could not and that she hated him when she heard what he had done to his other victims.

Both child victims experienced learning difficulties after their ordeal and his youngest victim now refused to be left alone and failed a school year.

The trial was postponed to August 20 for sentencing proceedings.