File photo: Independent Media

Johannesburg - Victims of "balaclava serial rapist" Josias Mkansi have received justice following the harsh sentence that will see their tormentor spend the rest of his life behind bars with no option of parole.

Mkansi, who terrorised the Alexandra township community for years, was slapped with 14 life sentences and an extra 185 years by the high court in Joburg yesterday.

The 50-year-old sex predator was convicted of 14 counts of rape, two of compelled rape, and 11 additional charges which include kidnapping, assault and theft with aggravating circumstances.

Compelled rape is when the rapist forces a man to rape his partner while he watches.

Mkansi is one of two balaclava rapists. He went on a nine-year raping spree with co-accused Sinja Mabitsela, 39, who pleaded guilty to all charges but whose sentencing was postponed to November 16.

Both Mkansi and Mabitsela raped, robbed and forced men to rape their partners in parks and a cemetery in Alexandra between 2007 and 2015.

One of Mkansi’s victims, who was present throughout the court proceedings on Tuesday, welcomed the hefty sentence.

“I am happy with the ruling because I last saw him nine years ago. I've been living with this pain for nine years. Since I got to see him, I think I am all right.

“I was 14 years old and in Grade 8 when he raped me,” she said.

“Now, at the age of 22, I do not feel great after hearing that this man continued to rape other girls after raping me. My question is: why does a man with children and a wife do this? This man is very old for him to rape people,” she added.

The 22-year-old said she did not get to meet the other victims because most did not want to relive the ordeal.

“I’ve never seen or met the other victims; I was hoping to meet them but they did not show up. I wanted to find out how they were doing and tell them about my experiences I am okay now,” she said.

She told The Star she was glad the judge ordered Mkansi’s name to be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO).

“We were not even allowed to walk around in our neighbourhood at night. I'm glad I know that he's in jail. He has never showed remorse for his actions,” she said.

During the sentencing, Judge Ingrid Opperman said: “The behaviour of the accused and his co-perpetrator shows lack of respect for the complainants’ physical integrity and human dignity. He has offered no explanation for his barbaric behaviour. The offences during the subject of this trial were committed during a period of one-and-a-half years during this time, Mr Mkansi had time to reflect on various deeds.

“He has girl children of the ages of these victims. He terrorised a community, violated a holy place, a cemetery, where loved ones were laid to rest, with his vile deeds. Many of the victims were from informal settlements where privacy was in short supply. Couples and children went to the park to get some private time,” she said.

The judge said Mkansi’s rehabilitation prospects were slim.

“One dynamic factor is he committed the crimes while he was on parole for previous convictions - for murder, attempted murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm. He is a serial sexual predator who made life hell for so many people for so long - and has evidently lacked the capacity for mercy,” said Judge Opperman.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Louw Mjonondwane also welcomed the sentence and was grateful to the victims who came forward to testify in court after their ordeal.

“The NPA condemns lawlessness and we will continue to ensure that our courts impose harsher sentences on those who inflict pain and suffering on ordinary citizens. We believe sentences like this will serve to deter like-minded individuals.

"We remain grateful to those victims who despite their ordeal came forward to testify in our courts to ensure that these criminals were removed from society,” said Mjonondwane.

Miranda Jordan, the director of Women And Men Against Child Abuse, said she was relieved to hear the sentence and that there was no chance for the balaclava rapist to get out of jail.

“It’s a big relief for everyone here. It’s been a hugely long road and we were expecting the life sentences. For me, one of the most important message sent out today was that rape is a repulsive crime.

"It is degrading and humiliating and forever changes the lives of children or women who are raped. When the judge handed out the sentences today, she was saying that rape is one of the most common abuses when it comes to human rights abuses in South Africa. Women are not free,” said Jordan.

The Star