Zabathini Jonas, 34, was convicted of two counts of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment for each count in 2015, following the brutal rape of a 24-year-old homosexual woman from Petrusville in 2010. The woman had openly led her life as a lesbian.
During the incident, Jonas threatened the woman with a knife and raped her for two hours. At some stage she lost consciousness.
According to Jonas’ version, he knew that the woman was a lesbian and wanted to “correct her sexual orientation”.
After reporting the rape to the police, the woman was examined by a doctor, who explained that the complainant was “the most traumitised patient he had ever examined, due to the extensive pain she endured”.
The doctor found that the woman’s underwear was blood-stained and she had suffered extensive vaginal injuries, and that the nature of the injuries he observed were strongly associated with forced penetration.
He added that it was “highly improbable” that the intercourse was consensual.
During the trial, Jonas said that he had already turned a lesbian into a heterosexual, who now had children, and that he hoped that if he engaged in sexual intercourse with lesbians they would turn into heterosexuals. “Ek hoop ek gaan haar reg maak” (I hope I will fix her), were his words.
During sentencing in the Phillipstown Regional Court in 2015, the presiding magistrate “gained the impression” that Jonas boasted with regard to his “misplaced and offensive powers to correct the lesbian’s sexual orientation”.
The magistrate reasoned that the woman was subjected to brutal acts of rape where she sustained serious bodily injuries and concluded that this was a typical “corrective rape”.
Jonas last week turned to the Northern Cape High Court to appeal his life imprisonment sentence.
Judge Violet Phatshoane dismissed the appeal against the conviction and sentence and called Jonas’ acts “repulsive and unpardonable”.
“Gender-based violence has no place in our constitutional dispensation. The gay and lesbian community are entitled to equal enjoyment of all rights and freedom as entrenched in our Constitution like all other South Africans. They should be treated with dignity and respect. They are entitled to be who they are and express themselves in any manner they wish, without fear of being ostracised and violated,” Phatshoane said.
“The so-called ‘corrective rape’ is evil and cannot be countenanced. Our courts will continue with their concerted effort to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. What (Jonas) did to the complainant was to pulverise her sense of belonging and self-expression. This is repulsive and unpardonable.”