Jerome Petersen, 54, was found guilty in the Parow Regional Court and also received an additional 10 years for sexually exploiting the little girl who testified against him in court.
Petersen was arrested on 28 July 2017 at his home in Teak Road after the child’s mother reported him to police.
The girl’s family lived in a backyard dwelling behind Petersen’s house and the child was sent to the main house to collect bathwater for her baby sister.
Her mother told Daily Voice she caught Petersen in a locked bathroom with her child and when she questioned the girl, she said Petersen raped her and gave her a R5 “almost like payment”.
The incident sparked outrage in Bonteheuwel and angry aunties filled the courtroom at the Bishop Lavis Magistrates’ Court, calling on prisoners to rape Petersen.
His bail application was denied in August 2017 after the community submitted a petition to the magistrate.
The girl’s family also had to flee Bonteheuwel amid threats from gangsters, and the child was moved to a safe house where she still stays.
The case was transferred to Parow Regional Court this year where proceedings were held in camera.
The child’s foster mother on Thursday told the Daily Voice: “When she first came to us, she was very traumatised. But they took her for counselling and in court she was very brave when she testified.
“They called us in last week and I also had to speak at court. On Wednesday they gave him life in prison and he got 10 more years for exploitation.
“She is doing very well now and is back at school and is completing Grade 2.”
Ward councillor Angus McKenzie says 2000 residents signed the petition to keep Petersen in jail and the community believes justice has been served.
“This is a huge win for the young girl and her family and a clear indication to the community at large that when we stand together, justice can and will be delivered,” says McKenzie.
Petersen will serve his sentence at Goodwood Prison.
Eric Ntabazalila spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority says the sentences will run concurrently.
In addition, Petersen has been declared unfit to own a firearm, may not work with children, and his name has been entered into the sexual offenders’ registry.Daily Voice