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Polokwane - A 34-year-old man was sentenced this past week in the Polokwane High Court to 20 years imprisonment after he was convicted of raping a 79-year-old woman who was reportedly suffering from dementia, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo.

On July 13, 2018, at about 2am, Jackson Dingan Debeila from Mohlaletsi Sekateng village in Apel outside Lebowakgomo, met the victim a few streets away from her home after she had "wondered off", Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said in a statement.

Debeila, instead of rescuing the stranded woman, assaulted her severely, overpowered her and raped her. Community members were alerted by the victim's screams and rushed to the scene. "The accused was caught in action. He then tried to flee the scene, but was cornered by the community members who handed him over to the police".

A case of rape was opened and Lt-Col Choene Makaleng of the Lebowakgomo SAPS family violence, child protection, and sexual offences unit (FCS) was assigned to work on the case. 

"The well experienced and dedicated detective worked very hard to ensure justice is served for the old woman. During investigations, it was revealed that one of the community members played a pivotal role by providing valuable information about the scene of this crime," Mojapelo said.

Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba commended the FCS officers for their endless efforts in the fight against gender-based violence. Ledwaba further praised the community for rescuing the victim and handing the suspect over to the police.

African News Agency (ANA)