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CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court on Thursday sentenced a 26-year-old serial rapist to five life terms behind bars.

Aviwe Hoya was convicted on five counts of kidnapping, three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and ten counts of rape. He was sentenced to five life terms for attacks on four of his victims and 15 years for raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl. He was handed a further 25 years for kidnapping the five girls and a combined 18 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said in a statement that Hoya targeted learners on their way home from school in Khayelitsha.

State prosecutor Advocate Maria Marshall described him as a danger to society.

"In one instance, the learner was on her way home from school. Most of the victims were minors in school uniform and were aged between 10 and 18 years of age", Ntabazalila said. 

Hoya committed the rapes between 2011 and 2012. 

"His modus operandi was that he would run up to the victim, grab her around her neck, threaten her with a knife and demanded that they go to a secluded place where he would order them to strip naked and rape them. The rapes took place in open fields, a nearby toilet and in a shack." 

Victims were robbed of jewellery, cellphones and money. 

The ten-year-old victim was raped twice, while the 18-year-old was raped four times. The other victims were raped once. 

Ntabazalila said Hoya was arrested after stealing a laptop in his hometown of Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape. The police officer investigating the rapes brought Hoya back to Cape Town after that trial and linked him to the attacks after testing his DNA.

Hoya left his victims with physical and emotional scars. Ntabazalila said victim impact statements showed many are now struggling with depression. 

"One victim, 13 years old, fears men, attempted suicide, her mom suffered depression and ended up in hospital. The other 13-year-old victim dropped out of school, doubted herself and feared that she would be raped again. Another victim suffered embarrassment, is angry, was forced to change school as she feared another attack on her and wished that the accused would spend a long time in prison."

The NPA welcomed the sentence and said it "fits the crime and the criminal".

African News Agency (ANA)