The Richards Bay Regional Court has sentenced Police Sergeant, Philani Praiselord Mkhwanazi (43) to an effective 10 years imprisonment following his conviction on rape and corruption.

In November 2020, a 32-year-old complainant was arrested for shoplifting and taken to the Esikhaleni Police Station where she was kept with another woman arrested for the same offence. At some stage Mkhwanazi moved the complainant out of the cell and into another room. There he asked her for sex in exchange for her release. She gave consent on the understanding that she would be released. However, when they were done Mkhwanazi did not release her, but instead returned her to the cell. She then reported the incident to her cell companion (first report), and another police officer at that station and evidence was secured.

During the court case, Regional Court Prosecutor Jomo Ngcobo led the evidence of the complainant, the first report and the police officer who took the statement and opened the case.

In aggravation of sentence, Jomo handed in a Victim Impact Statement compiled by the complainant and facilitated by Court Preparation Officer Mandisa Sikakane. In her statement the complainant said that since the incident she has been ostracised by her family. She said that she lives in fear and has lost her dignity.

In sentencing Mkhwanazi, the court took both counts as one for the purpose of sentencing and he was given an effective 10 years imprisonment. He was declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The NPA welcomes this successful prosecution. Public servants and government officials have a duty to protect citizens and not exploit them. The officer in this case took advantage of his position. We hope that cases like this will deter like-minded individuals. Well done to the prosecutor and colleagues from the SAPS who contributed to the success of the case.

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