LIFE SENTENCE FOR RAPE COUNT

LIFE SENTENCE FOR RAPE COUNT

The Madadeni Regional Court has sentenced Thobani Madida (29), to life imprisonment for rape, 5 years imprisonment for kidnapping, and 3 years imprisonment for grievous bodily harm. The complainant, Slindelo Thwala (23) testified and informed the court that she was at Sizwe Jail’s place. She stated that she was with Sizwe Jalis’ girlfriend and another patron consuming liquor. The accused arrived and began to consume their liquor without permission and was stopped by Jali, who requested the accused must not disturb his customers. The accused then grabbed the complainant, produced a knife, and stabbed Jali in the upper arm. There was an attempt by Jali to get a garden fork, but he could not do so, as he had been injured due to the stabbing.

The accused then forcibly left with the complainant to a nearby forest, where he instructed her to take off her clothes and raped her. They later continued to a nearby house, where she was repeatedly raped again. Thwala testified that she did not go with the accused voluntarily but was afraid of the accused as he had a knife with him.

The investigating officer, Constable Langa in her evidence, noted that she had received a report that the family of the accused had come to try and mediate the matter and pay damages to the family of the complainant. She also testified that during the investigation, she has established that the accused had a matter in court and that is how she had been able to trace him, as she could not find him at his home.

A victim impact statement was prepared with the assistance of Masanda Mdiya, a court preparation officer. It noted the complainant suffered emotional stress and is now unable to sleep at night. She is always scared and was diagnosed with depression, which she is now on treatment for, and suffers headaches when she thinks of the incident. She is afraid to walk alone at night and has a fear of male people. She is ashamed when she walks on the streets because she feels like people are stigmatising her, because of the incident. She feels like the nights are too long, as she is unable to fall asleep and she suffers from flashbacks of the incident. She also feels like there is no one to comfort her to get through the pain she feels and has also lost a lot of weight.

The prosecutor Bonginkosi Motha, who dealt with the matter in court, in aggravation of sentence, argued that the behavior of the accused showed a lack of respect for the complainants’ physical integrity, freedom of movement, and human dignity. Rape is a crime of inherent violence which causes harm to its victims, regardless of any additional physical injury that the victim may sustain. It was further argued that the crime of rape and the nature of such a crime goes beyond physical penetration. It was requested that the court be alive to the interests of society and that it had a duty to protect members of society not to live in constant fear of violence whether against their person or property.

Motha also argued that the court does not deviate from the minimum sentence. The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment on the rape charge, 5 years imprisonment for kidnapping, and a 3-year imprisonment sentence for the assault grievous bodily harm (GBH) charge. In sentencing the accused, the court did not deviate from the minimum sentence although it had been argued on his behalf that he had been in custody for 5 years. It had also been argued on behalf of the accused that the victim did not suffer any injuries. After the court had considered all the factors that the state and the accused had placed before it regarding considering the issue of the sentence, the court sentenced the accused as noted already.

The NPA is pleased with the outcome and has noted the work done on the matter by the prosecutor Bonginkosi Motha and investigating officer d/constable Mbatha to ensure a successful prosecution in the matter.

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