Cape Town - A brave young woman’s testimony sealed the fate of five gang members who were sentenced to two life terms and five years for raping and kidnapping her, totalling 275 years.
The sentence has been hailed as a victory for the prosecution, crime watch members, and activists at the Mitchells Plain Regional Court.
In May, during the police fourth quarter crime statistics for the 2022/2023 financial year, Mitchells Plain was identified as one of the top four crime hotspots.
Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that over 10 000 people were raped in the first three months of 2023.
In March, Mitchells Plain police station made the top 30 list for crimes in the country.
Peter Goliath, Mogamat Zidane Gomas, Camron Foster, Ricardo Daniels and Dwayne Galant, all members of the Ugly Americans gang, were sentenced to two life terms, including five years, for her rape and kidnapping, which took place in 2021.
Eric Ntabazalila, of the National Prosecuting Authority, said the conviction and sentencing proved the hard work of the judicial system in tackling cases of sexual violence.
“The NPA welcomes the sentence as it proves once again its resolve to work towards fighting the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.”
The victim, 24, who used to reside in Tafelsig, may not be identified and has been relocated outside of the province to begin her new life.
Weekend Argus has approached her family for comment, but they have declined due to safety concerns.
Linda Jones, of the Mitchells Plain United Resident Association and Court Watch, said the sentence is sending out a strong message to perpetrators who rape women.
“The sentence is a victory to the victim and the people of Mitchells Plain, and we thank the judicial staff and investigating team and all role-players who were part of this outcome,” she said.
“We welcome this sentence because often we see how victims are often harassed and are still in pain. In this specific case, the Magistrate and prosecutor has left a message that perpetrators will not think twice to violate our women and children, including males.
“The Family Violence and Sexual Offences detective did a sterling job, as we see so many cases lacking witnesses and crucial evidence.”
Pastor Leon Jacobs, who was once a former high-ranking gangster, has made it is his life’s mission to reform and transform the lives of young men and women in Mitchells Plain, said the victim made an impact on the outcome of the case.
‘’The gang rape factor, was this an initiation we need to ask, or was it in the heat of the moment, but importance issue is that it is to create fear in that victim who is targeted,” he said.
Western Cape Minister for Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagan Allen’s office said the fourth quarter crime statistics of 2022/2023 showcased since 2019, there had been a decrease in rape incident from 1242 to 1170 in 2023.
This compared to last year’s numbers of 1298, which shows a 9.9% decrease.