Pretoria - A serial rapist from Tembisa, Gift Mkhwanazi has been sentenced to 12 life terms plus over 300 years in jail by the High Court in Johannesburg for a spate of rapes committed in and around Tembisa from 2013 until June 2019.
Mkhwanazi, dubbed the Beast of Tembisa, was charged with 104 counts ranging from rape, kidnapping, pointing of a firearm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault and attempted murder, according to Phindi Mjonondwane, Gauteng regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The South African Police Service (SAPS) had registered more than 19 dockets with the same modus operandi where women were attacked on the streets at night or early hours of the morning.
The women could not identify the perpetrator as he accosted them from behind, pointed them with a firearm or knife to force them into bushes or secluded areas.
"Once there, he would rob them of their cash and cell phones and thereafter, rape them," said Mjonondwane.
Mkhwanazi was arrested after one of his friends was found in possession of one of the complainants' cellphones.
He was further linked through DNA that was extracted from one crime scene and the complainants.
"The accused [Mkhwanazi] testified that he does not know any of the witnesses that testified in court. He admitted the DNA report but failed to give an explanation as to why the DNA found on 17 victims and one crime scene matched his DNA," said Mjonondwane.
He further denied that he ever raped, kidnapped or robbed the women before the court and that he never had a knife or firearm in his possession.
State Advocate, Adele De Klerk submitted that there was no evidence to substantiate any finding that any of the witnesses conspired with each other to implicate Mkhwanazi.
“There similarly exists no inherent improbabilities that militate against the acceptance of the state witnesses’ evidence”, she said pleading with the court to reject Mkhwanazi's version.
The NPA has commended SAPS Detective Sergeant Mangwale and Advocate De Klerk "for successfully removing this serial rapist from society".