SAPS boss welcomes harsh 30 year sentence for Mpumalanga pastor who molested boys
Pretoria - Mpumalanga South African Police Service (SAPS) commissioner Lt-Gen Mondli Zuma on Saturday welcomed the effective 30-year jail sentence handed down in the Witbank Regional Court this week to 38-year-old Sthembiso Nathaniel Kubheka, a church pastor who was arrested and convicted of raping and sexually assaulting several teenage boys and young men.
Kubheka took advantage of the victims by portraying himself as "a reliable pastor" through hosting revival crusades in various parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said.
"In those crusades, he would then make friends with the victims and lure them through social media platforms to visit him in Vosman near Witbank. Around December 2015, Kubheka had already managed to build trust with his victims and even enticed them by promising to conduct special prayers in private for them," said Hlathi.
"Once they arrived at his place, the accused [Kubheka] would make sexual advances by touching their private parts. About five males, then aged between 17 and 23, have fallen victim to this man's conniving trap," he said.
Cases were opened with the SAPS and the matter was investigated. The pastor was arrested on January 27, 2016.
"During trial, he could not succeed in defending himself against overwhelming evidence brought against him, hence his well-deserved sentence, which was handed down as follows: for count one of rape he was sentenced to 10 years; for count two, sexual assault, he was sentenced to 10 years; for count three, sexual assault, he was sentenced to 10 years; for count four, sexual assault, he was sentenced to 10 years; and for count five, sexual assault, he was sentenced to another 10 years.
"When sentencing was handed down, the court indicated that Kubheka will not have an option to apply for parole on counts one, two, and three, but he will instead languish effectively in prison for 30 years. Meanwhile, count four and five will run concurrently with counts one, two, and three," Hlathi said.
Kubheka was also found unfit to possess a firearm and his name would be entered into the register of sexual offenders, he said.
Zuma welcomed the 30-year sentence. He lauded the police investigating officers and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutors, as well as the judiciary, for their "sterling work" which led to the hefty sentence being handed down.
He also praised the victims for their bravery in coming forward to open cases and to testify against Kubheka. "We believe that the sentence will deter others from following the accused's footsteps and we also trust that it will renew hope to victims of crime," Zuma said.
African News Agency/ANA