An 80-year-old Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for rape. File picture
An 80-year-old Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for rape. File picture

Father sentenced 40 years after raping daughter

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Cape Town – An 80-year-old Eastern Cape man has been sentenced by the Mthatha Regional Court for raping his daughter between 1978 and 1984.

Nyamekile Alfred Bhenge was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

The victim has cut ties with the family and changed her identity.

Provincial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the victim gave consent for the name of her rapist father to be made public.

Bhenge started raping his daughter when she was 14.

At the time, they lived together in the Ngangelizwe Township in Mthatha, while the child’s mother, who has since divorced Bhenge, worked in Durban as a domestic worker.

As a result of the rapes, the daughter gave birth to a son in March 1983. Paternity tests were conducted during the investigation and positively identified Bhenge as the now 37-year-old man’s biological father.

After giving birth to her son, the court heard that the victim ran away from home and relocated to Gauteng.

She reported her ordeal to authorities in Johannesburg after the much-publicised successful prosecution of former professional tennis player and coach Bob Hewitt in 2015.

Hewitt was sentenced for raping and sexually assaulting girls in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Gauteng police transferred the case to Mthatha whereupon completion of investigations, Bhenge was arrested. He was convicted in July this year after pleading guilty,” Tyali said.

“In his plea explanation, Bhenge blamed alcohol. He claimed that he committed the rapes while drunk and thought his daughter was one of his ’many girlfriends’ as his wife had left him.”

Since the crimes were committed before the Minimum Sentences Act came into effect, the court used its discretion in sentencing Bhenge, and took his health and age into consideration.

The NPA welcomed the sentencing and said it hoped this case would encourage other victims of sexual offences to come forward, even if the crimes took place a long time, ago, so that the perpetrators could face the full might of the law.

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