WATCH: Victims speak after serial rapist gets 5 life terms, 988 years
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Pretoria - Shortly after a 14-year-old was brutally raped by Nellmapius resident Sello Abram Mapunya, she said “my soul is crippled for life.”
Yesterday, as he was sent to jail for the rest of his life, with tears streaming down her face, she called on all men out there to protect women.
“I ask myself everyday why men have to rape. But I want to ask the men out there to protect us instead of hurting us,” the victim said.
In one of the longest sentences ever handed down in South African justice history, serial rapist Mapunya has been sentenced to five life sentences and an additional 988 years in prison.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced him yesterday on 71 counts, including 31 charges of rape. The other charges are burglary and theft.
As he rushed down to the holding cells, the neatly dressed man who wears spectacles, received a loud send-off. A packed public gallery of victims and their families cheered and clapped hands and loudly thanked God for ridding this man whom they had dubbed a monster, was off the streets.
Some hugged each other in tears and said the relief of knowing that he was now going to walk the corridors of jail, instead of the streets at night, was great.
Mapunya, during the sentencing stage and as Judge Papi Mosopa meted out a prison sentence to each of the 71 charges, showed the judge the middle finger, while shaking his head. Members of the media who dared to look at him also received this rude gesture.
His heavy conviction followed a reign of terror in and around Pretoria for five years. His modus operandi was still the same – he broke into RDP shacks and houses in Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, and Nellmapius, between 2am and 4am.
He usually shone a torch in the face of his victim before raping her. Some of the victims were raped in front of their children and others in front of their husbands or other family members. He even chased some victims into the street naked.
The victims and their families were helpless as Mapunya was usually armed with a gun, knife or screwdriver.
To make matters worse, this neatly dressed man threatened one victim that he was going to rape her two toddlers after she had resisted too much. He then went ahead and raped her in front of the children.
In some cases he raped his victims more than once and on other occasions, he had an accomplice with him who also raped the victims.
Judge Masopa said he hoped this sentence would be a message to others who had the same ideas as Mapunya.
“You are not the type of person who is ready to live side by side with others in peace. You are determined to infringe on the dignity of others by raping them in a barbaric manner…There is no doubt that you can be classified as a serial rapist,” said the judge.
The judge also clarified that he was not ordering any of these sentences to be carried out simultaneously. He said this sentence should be a lesson to others with similar ideas, that human bodies were not commodities, but human beings who must be respected.
One of the victims said that this victory was not only for them, but for the other women whom she believed were also raped by him. “I believe it was not just us. I know there must be others,” she said.
Mapunya, 33, pleaded not guilty to 101 charges, but as the prosecution started leading evidence against him, he suddenly decided to plead guilty to 71 charges.
Although only one victim was able to see his face, he was mainly linked to the incidents via DNA evidence.
Although his rape and burglary frenzy took place in 2014, Mapunya was not arrested until 2019 in the CBD of Pretoria via a cellphone he had robbed from one of his victims.
One of the victims afterwards said in tears: “We fought a fight for all women. I’m proud to say that I stood here watching a man who tortured women, going down forever.
“I still have a scar from the hammer with which he beat me. I remember I had blood all over my head thinking I would not survive. But I did and I witnessed him going to where he belongs.”