80 years behind bars for rapist and two women in human trafficking case
CAPE TOWN - In what is considered a groundbreaking judgment in trafficking in persons (TIP), the Hawks serious organised crime investigation unit has ensured that a man, his mother, and the aunt of his teenage victim were sentenced to a collective 80 years imprisonment on charges of rape and human trafficking, the Hawks said on Saturday.
Malibongwe Gudwana, 36, his mother Thandiwe, 57, and the 14-year-old victim’s aunt, 39, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, were convicted in the Wynberg Magistrates' Court in Cape Town this week, Hawks spokesperson Lt-Col Philani Nkwalase said in a statement.
"Their conviction stems from several charges, including kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Malibongwe was convicted of rape, human trafficking, kidnapping, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to 55 years imprisonment - 25 years for rape, 25 years for human trafficking, three years for kidnapping, and two years for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The sentences are to run concurrently. Thus, he will serve 25 years imprisonment," Nkwalase said.
His mother, Thandiwe Gudwana, was convicted of human trafficking and kidnapping. She was sentenced to 10 years for human trafficking and three years for kidnapping. The court ordered her sentences to run concurrently, and she would effectively serve 10 years imprisonment. The aunt was convicted of human trafficking only and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
The Hawks investigators testified in court that the 14-year-old girl was trafficked from Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape in December 2011. "After losing her father, her aunt badly treated the girl and told her that she was sending her to Malibongwe in Cape Town, who was looking for a wife."
On December 21, 2011, "the aunt packed her clothes in a bag". The girl protested that she did not want to go to Cape Town and that she was too young to be married. On December 22, 2011, the aunt put her in a minibus taxi, instructed the taxi driver not to let her off anywhere except in Philippi in Cape Town, and gave the driver Malibonge’s cellphone number, Nkwalase said.
The girl arrived in Philippi in the early hours of December 23, 2011, and was met by Malibongwe and his mother at the taxi rank. After they arrived at their house, the mother pointed out Malibongwe’s bedroom and told the girl that she would sleep with her son.
"She told her there was an arranged marriage. She protested again that she did not want to be married and wanted to go home. Malibongwe told the victim that he had paid for her father’s funeral. That evening, and the period between December 2011 and January 2012, he demanded sex, beat her up, undressed her, and raped her."
The victim managed to persuade them to allow her to register at a school in Philippi. She reported her trauma and suffering to the school towards the end of January 2012 and was taken to a safe house where the matter was reported to the Hawks, resulting in the arrest of the trio, Mkwalase said.
Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya welcomed "this far-reaching judgment, as it reinforces the directorate’s commitment in the fight against gender-based violence, particularly the rising crimes against women and children", Mkwalase said.African News Agency