The Robertson Regional Court sentenced Edmund Plaatjies and Elvin Jantjies, to three life terms each, declared them unfit to possess firearms and ordered the prosecutor to inform the victim of her rights to make representations, to the Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, when the accused are considered for parole or correctional supervision. The court further ordered an immediate search and seizure of all firearms, ammunition, competency certificates, licenses, permits, and authorisations issued to the accused.

This sentence and the orders follow their conviction of three counts of rape each.

Prosecutor, Elton Willemse, told the court that the accused found a 19-year-old woman standing outside while attending a social gathering with friends and her child in Silverstrand, Robertson. She knew both. They dragged her to the vineyards where they took turns raping her. They restrained her by slapping and hitting her with fists on her face. She was left with multiple abrasions on her face, arms, and hands, lacerations on the lower lip and bruises.

The victim impact report compiled by Estelle Adams indicates that she was left shocked as she knew both men, and did not expect them to rape her. She experienced nightmares and flashbacks of the incident and became fearful of men. She still does not like men and feels uncomfortable in their presence. She knew her life would never be the same after the incident.

During arguments, Willemse painted a picture of men who lacked remorse or regret for their actions, believed they were innocent and did not take responsibility for their heinous crimes. He told the court that Plaatjies, 30, is a member of the 28s gang and a “magistrate” in prison who hands down sentences to other members when they went astray. He has previous convictions and sentences for culpable homicide and attempted rape.

Jantjies, 27, was a member of the Junior Cisko Yankies gang and became a member of the 26 gangs, after his incarceration. He has previous convictions of drug use and use of a vehicle without an owner’s consent committed in 2016. 

“Plaatjies’ past transgression did not serve as an effective deterrent as he committed these offences only 10 months after his parole on 19 September 2016. He committed two previous offences of attempted rape about four years apart and it could therefore be held that he has a propensity to commit sexual offences. He suggested to Jantjies that they kill the victim and threatened to kill her and her child if she told anyone about what happened to her. The community needs to be protected from his violent tendencies and the only way is through a custodial sentence. 

“Jantjies is equally responsible for the pain and suffering the victim had to endure, as he was actively involved in grabbing her, dragging her into the vineyards, assaulting her, restraining, and raping her. Jantjies was in a relationship with the victim’s stepmother and had a moral obligation to protect her from harm. He acted in total disregard for her well-being, and due to the severity of the offence, he too needs to be removed from society, by imposing a custodial sentence.,” he argued.

The court concurred with his strong arguments and sentenced the accused to all the preferred sentences.

Commenting following the sentence, Willemse said: “The message will hopefully reverberate throughout the Bree Langeberg region, and even beyond that gender-based violence is a priority for the justice cluster. Dire consequences await those who rape and assault our mothers and daughters in our communities. We remain committed to fully prosecute culprits of these vulgar and senseless acts of violence to the full extent of the law and empower people who report these crimes.”

The Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv. Nicolette Bell, commended the prosecution and investigation teams on the commendable work they have done, to secure the plausible sentences and orders handed down by the court.  I agree with the sentiments shared by the prosecutor, and I want to add that we will continue to vigorously prosecute the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide as it encroaches on the right to dignity,” she said.

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