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Cape Town - A 25-year-old man has sentenced to life imprisonment in the Butterworth Regional Court for the rape and robbery of a 22-year-old woman in 2015. 

The life imprisonment handed down to Xolisa Mhlonyana on Tuesday was welcomed by Eastern Cape Police, with spokesperson, Captain Jackson Manatha, saying: "We trust that the lengthy sentence will serve as a deterrent to criminals preying on women who are not in a position to defend themselves."

According to a police statement released on Thursday, it was alleged that the rape victim was on her way home from work on 31 July 2015 at about 23:45pm at Sakwe Park, Dutywa, when Mhlonyana approached her. 

He dragged the victim to a dark area where he repeatedly raped her and robbed her of an undisclosed amount of money.

A case of rape was registered at Dutywa police station. Butterworth Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) took over the case and thoroughly investigated it. Mhlonyana was then traced and arrested.  

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Liziwe Ntshinga, congratulated Butterworth FCS Unit for doing a sterling job, saying: "Violence committed against women is in the forefront of our fight against crime and offenders can expect that our investigators will pursue every avenue to ensure their conviction."