Johannesburg – The three men who raped two women and drowned their husbands in a lake at Rhodes Park in Johannesburg have been handed four life sentences each at the South Gauteng High Court on Friday.
Judge Papi Masopa said the men treated the victims in a disgraceful and barbaric manner.
On 17 October 2015, a group of eight men including Mduduzi Lawrence Mathibela, 33, Edmore Ndlovu, 24, and Thabo Nkala, 26, accosted and robbed two couples while taking a stroll at Rhodes Park in Kensington.
Armed with a gun and a knife, the group forced their victims to lie on the ground. They used a knife to cut off the panties of both women and then raped them.
They forced their partners to undress, tied them up and made them to wade into the lake where they drowned. The gang stole their clothes, jewellery, and a cellphone which they later sold for R320.
“They have girlfriends and daughters but failed to treat the complainants as they would have treated their families,” judge Masopa said.
“After raping the women, they laughed and said their husbands were fools for swimming in lake instead of swimming in a pool. It means they knew what they were doing.”
Masopa said he found it difficult to understand why the accused had to drown the men when they hadn’t displayed any resistance when they were ordered to lie down.
Social workers from Ikhaya Lethemba were in court to support the victims. They hugged , cried and shouted “Thank you Jesus” every time the judge handed a life sentence to each accused.
Masopa also also hammered on the lack of remorse shown my the assailants.
“Accused number one (Nkala) and two (Ndlovu) even lied under oath about the highest standard they passed.”
He said the attorneys of the accused also failed to convince the court the men should be given lighter sentences.
Masopa found each man guilty of robbery, two counts of rape and two counts of murder.
MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, who was also in court, shed some tears after the sentence was handed down.
“We are happy with the sentencing and this strengthens our faith in the justice system. But for the victims the scars will take longer to heal, there might be closer today but they won’t won’t forget what happened to them,” she said.
Nkala and Mathibela wore shades when going down the stairs leading to the holding cells. Mathibela maintained his innocence and said he was framed.
The remaining five suspects who are believed to be foreigners are apparently hiding in Zimbabwe. One of the suspects was arrested last year in Zimbabwe, where he had committed another crime. He is expected to be extradited when that matter is resolved.