Port Elizabeth - Convicted serial rapist Mzikayise Mkavu, 27, was sentenced to an effective 228 years behind bars and an additional 13 life terms in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday.
Mkavu was convicted earlier this week after pleading guilty to a total of 36 counts. The string of charges included 17 counts of rape, eight counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, one count of attempted murder, two counts of assault, three counts of attempted robbery and five counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
In total there were fourteen complainants in the matter, with nine rape survivors who testified at the trial. The courtroom was packed to capacity and all the women who were raped by Mkavu attended proceedings to watch their attacker being sent to jail.
The charges against him dated to incidents in Kwanobuhle near Uitenhage between July 2008 and January 2016 when Mkavu targeted and tormented a string of women in the Eastern Cape township.
In passing sentence, Judge Mandela Makaula said it was clear during testimony that pain and anguish were written all over the faces of Mkavu's victims.
Makaula outlined Mkavu's modus operandi in that he would usually target his victims late at night, choosing them carefully when they were alone. Many of the victims did not know the identity of their rapist up until his arrest last year.
Some of the women bore scars on their faces after Mkavu violently attacked them with bottlenecks during the attacks.
Mkavu's DNA was positively linked to the rape incidents before court.
"This is a classic example of a serial rapist, a heartless person whose actions were barbaric. He derived pleasure in the victims bleeding, injuring and raping his victims," Makaula stated. "Women in this country are entitled to the protection of their rights. They have a claim to walk the streets, shop and enjoy entertainment without fear, apprehension that diminishes the quality of their lives."
In one of the most brutal rape attacks, a victim lost her eye and is now forced to wear an artificial one. She takes anti-depressant medication and gets angry easily. According to her, the most heartbreaking element is that she feels embarrassed when her three-year-old child asks what is wrong with her.
Another rape survivor testified that she did not know the identity of her rapist and for a long time was suspicious of every man she saw.
Following the sentencing, the women embraced one another and cried tears of relief that justice had been served.