A 43-year-old father has been sentenced to 6 life imprisonment for rape and 3 years imprisonment for sexually assaulting his biological daughter by the Upington Regional Court. During the September 2012 school holidays, the young complainant who was between the ages of 14 and 15 at the time and stayed in Upington, went to visit her paternal grandmother and father (the accused) in De Aar. Due to due to limited beds and space available, the victim had to share a bed with her father. On the victim’s first night of her visit, she woke up to find her father busy fondling her breast and private parts.

She initially resisted and protested however she succumbed after he threatened to kill her should she refuse to have sex with him. It is alleged that the accused had previously told the victim that he had murdered four persons, and this added to her belief that he is capable of killing her. He then proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her against her will. During her visit to De Aar, he raped her again on numerous occasions. The accused continued to have sexual intercourse with the victim for over six months during family outings to Kimberley, Rustenburg, and Upington.

The victim fearing for her life, never reported the abuse to anyone, until she visited a clinic in May 2013, when it was discovered and then confirmed that she was 5 months pregnant. It was only then that she decided to disclose the abuse to her aunt, whom she trusted, and the child was born in September 2013. The matter was then reported to the Police, and the accused was charged with 6 counts of rape and sexual assault.

The NPA Northern Cape Division secured centralisation for the prosecution of the incident, that took place in Rustenburg to arraign the accused in one trial in Upington, and to secure jurisdiction to do so. During the trial, the Prosecution led by Regional Court Prosecutor Friedle Du Plessis faced a challenge relating to the DNA results. Even though DNA results revealed that the accused was indeed the father of the child who was born as a result of the sexual abuse, the defence challenged the results based on the chain of custody of the exhibits which were delivered to the Forensic Laboratory.

The prosecutor directed the investigator, Warrant Officer Mashilishili, to obtain a second set of reference samples to curb the challenges with the initial results. The second round of DNA analysis again confirmed the paternity. The State called the analyst to explain the position regarding the testing to the court. The accused raised the issue that since he is the biological father of the complainant, it must explain the positive paternity results. The analyst refuted this argument, based on genetics and biology as well as the fact that in certain cases they normally need to test only 8 alleles but, in this case, they tested in all 16 alleles, which confirmed with absolute certainty that the accused was indeed the father of the child, putting to rest any doubt as to the accuracy of these results.

The prosecutor also had the assistance of the Court Preparation Officers (CPOs), Monica Malo (retired) and Ashley Groenewald, who duly and thoroughly prepared the complainant for court. The state also applied successfully that the evidence of the complainant is led through the services of an intermediary to further protect her from secondary victimization from the court environment and he further protected her during proceedings in court, shielding her from unfair and daunting cross-examination. During the pre-sentencing stage, the CPOs also assisted the complainant with a Victim Impact Statement (VIS), one which was written by the complainant in 2018, and another one as recent as 2023. These statements were presented as evidence in aggravating the sentence, as they painted the court with the raw trauma the victim suffered and the devastation these heinous acts had on the life, love, and freedom that these young victims had to endure, not excluding the humiliation and teasing she suffered from her peers and friends.

Despite this strong case, the accused continued to deny the allegations refuting all the evidence. The accused eventually, during the process of cross-examination, conceded to the evidence by the complainant and subsequently made formal admissions, confessing to the sexual abuse. In sentencing, the court sentenced the accused to 6 terms of life imprisonment for rape and 3 years imprisonment for sexual assault. He was further declared unfit to possess a firearm and his details are to be entered in the National Register of Sex Offenders which will render him unfit to work with children.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the Northern Cape (DPP) Mr. Livingstone Sakata applauds the work done by the prosecution team in partnership with the Investigating Officer from the South African Police Service, in ensuring that the accused is sentenced to an appropriate Six life terms, for raping his child whom he should have protected as her father. The DPP envisage that such a sentence will send a clear message to perpetrators of serious crimes in that they will be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and sentenced for committing such heinous crimes.

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