Thomo Micheal Ngoato and Paulos Fourier made their bail applications

A 91-year-old man claiming to be a traditional healer has been slapped with a hefty 12 life sentences for rapes committed more than a decade ago.

Mpumalanga police on Tuesday said Mdungwa Johannes Malinga was among four men who were sentenced to a combined 14 life sentences.

“In the first sentencing, on Friday, 27 July 2018, the Carolina Regional Court sentenced 91-year-old Mdungwa Johannes Malinga to 12 life sentences for 12 counts of rape committed between 2006 and 2007.

“The court heard how Malinga, who claimed to be a traditional healer, sexually exploited children aged between seven and nine that were brought to him to be healed. Some of the children slept over at his house so that he could perform the rituals/rites and in the process Malinga took advantage and raped them. Three of the victims were also assaulted seriously by the accused,” police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said.

He said Malinga’s antics were exposed when some of the parents noticed strange behaviour from their children.

“They then took them for medical examination and rape was indeed confirmed. Twelve children came forth and opened cases, hence the 12 life sentences.

“Malinga was further granted a three year sentence for each of the three assault GBH (with intent to do grievous bodily harm) cases however, the court ordered that all the sentences will run concurrently,” Hlathi said.

He said in the other cases, Jan Mtsweni, 35, Papa Jacob Masina, 40, and David Makhondo, 45, were sentenced for charges of rape and theft on the same day by the KwaMhlanga Regional Court.

“The court heard that during May 2013, the trio gave a lift to an 18-year-old woman who was hitchhiking from KwaMhlanga to Vaalbank. Along the way, they searched her handbag, took her cellphone, an undisclosed amount of cash as well as her bank card.

“They demanded her bank card pin code and went to an ATM where they attempted to withdraw money with no success. The men then drove with her to a secluded area around Sun City D Village, near KwaMhlanga, where two of the accused took turns raping her,” Hlathi said.

He said police worked tirelessly and arrested the men a day after the incident.

Hlathi said Mtsweni and Masina were granted life sentences each for the rape and declared unfit to possess a firearm. Makhondo was granted a 12 months’ imprisonment for theft suspended for three years, on condition that he must not be found guilty of the same offence.

Hlathi said this was evident that police, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Judiciary were working tirelessly to ensure that criminal elements were being removed from society.

“A number of offenders were sent to prison for very lengthy periods including, inter-alia, life sentences for various offences, among them offences against women and children,” Hlathi said.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma welcomed the sentences and hailed the cooperation of the three entities in securing these sentences. He said he believed the sentences would serve as a deterrent to other would-be criminals.