Cape Town – A Philippi man, his mother and the aunt of the victim were sentenced to 80 years' imprisonment collectively on Wednesday in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on charges including human trafficking and rape.
Malibongwe Gudwana was convicted of rape, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).
He was sentenced to 55 years after he was handed 25 years for rape, 25 years for human trafficking, three years for kidnapping and two years for assault GBH. His sentences are to run concurrently and he will thus serve 25 years in prison.
His mother, Thandiwe, was convicted of human trafficking and kidnapping and was sentenced to 10 years for human trafficking and three years for kidnapping. She will serve 10 years as her sentences are set to run concurrently.
The victim’s aunt, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, who was a minor at the time of the incident, was convicted and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment for human trafficking.
The prosecutor, senior State advocate Maria Marshall, told the court that the girl, who was 14 at the time, was trafficked from Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape and sent to Philippi in Cape Town in December 2011 after her father died and her aunt mistreated her.
The aunt sent her to Malibongwe after she heard he was looking for a wife. According to the State, the aunt packed up the child’s clothes on December 21 and borrowed ixakatho (a small blanket) worn by newly wedded women.
The girl protested against moving to Cape Town, but on December 22 the aunt placed her in a taxi and told the driver to drop her nowhere but Philippi.
On December 23, the young girl was met by Malibongwe and his mother at the taxi rank, where the mother told the victim she would sleep with her son to confirm that the marriage was arranged and that her son had paid for the girl’s father’s funeral.
During the period of December 2011 to December 2012, Malibongwe demanded sex, undressed, assaulted and raped the girl.
The girl managed to persuade the mother and her son to allow her to go to school, where she reported the incident and was taken to a safe house while the matter was reported to the police.
In her argument during sentencing, Marshall said the girl had never consented to marriage or sexual intercourse and there were no marriage ceremonies conducted either.
“She was recruited and the aunt traded her to Malibongwe when he requested that he was looking for a wife. He procured her by paying money into the account of the aunt to facilitate the transportation of the complainant,” Marshall submitted.
She further told the court that Malibongwe’s mother dressed the girl in amadaki(makhoti/wife) attire even though she resisted.
“She had no parents – her father passed away on December 7, 2011, and (she) was clearly in a vulnerable position and the accused abused that vulnerability of the complainant,” she argued.