The Mankweng Regional Court has sentenced a 47-year-old man from Westernburg, Polokwane, to life imprisonment for the rape of a 13-year-old minor girl. The name of the accused is concealed to protect the victim as the accused is the stepfather(accused) to the victim. In 2016 the victim was returning from a party of a family friend and decided to go home leaving behind her mother and the accused at the party. Later, the accused followed the victim and raped her at their homestead. The mother arrived after the accused had raped the victim. The victim’s mother met the accused in the passage half naked and started quarrelling with her 13-year-old daughter, accusing her of stealing her husband and assaulting her.

The victim reported the incident to her stepmother in 2019, at the Pretoria police station, the docket was transferred to the Polokwane police station, where the accused was arrested. During the trial, the accused pleaded not guilty to the offence and the state Adv. Makgomothi Masehela had to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt by linking the accused to the offence. The state called the victim’s stepmother to testify in court as a first report witness. There was no DNA evidence to link the accused to the offence. The investigating officer managed to gather all the evidence to link the accused to the offence despite the victim’s biological mother’s non-cooperation with the investigations.

The victim impact statement (VIS)which was taken by the Court Preparation Officer (CPO) Dikeledi Leseka, was submitted to the court as evidence. The statement indicated that the victim had been traumatised and felt burns in her private part when taking baths. The victim could not believe that the accused had done what he did, as she regarded him as her father. She felt embarrassed when fellow learners would discuss sex education during life orientation classes, as she knew that they were aware of her rape case. The ordeal impacted her studies negatively as she had to repeat school grades and relocate to another province.

The pre-sentence report was handed up by the state which recommended that the accused must be sentenced to life imprisonment. The presiding officer, Mr Fanie Reynolds could not find any substantial or compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The NPA welcomes the sentence and applauds the good work of Adv Masehela. “We stand firm to fight against Gender-Based Violence, we further hope that would-be offenders will learn from this sentence”.

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