The Ga-Rankuwa Regional Court sentenced Simao Hlongwane (43), to life imprisonment for raping his 12-year-old niece. The court further ordered his name to be registered in the National Register of Sexual Offenders. It emerged during the trial that the complainant and her mother, who is the sister of the accused, were residing in Mothotlung, a short distance from where the accused stays. It was further revealed that on 17 January 2017, the accused sent the complaint to his other stand to clean a shack. He subsequently followed her and raped her in the shack. The complaint went to report the matter to her 15-year-old sister, who then conveyed the message to the mother. The mother however, failed to report the matter to the police.

Evidence led in court revealed that on 23 January 2021, the complainant who was 15 years of age at the time, in fear of being raped again, went to the police to report the matter, after the accused had continued to touch her inappropriately over some time. The police subsequently summoned the mother to assist the child in opening the case. The mother was described as being hesitant and unsupportive of the daughter’s actions, as the accused was their primary source of financial support. In the pre-sentence report, she described the accused to be a generous person. The accused’ wife also described him as being a person who believes in religious values and prayer, and he is affiliated with a Christian church, at which he is a preacher.

In aggravation of sentence, the state prosecutor, Adv Mummy Mosonodi, convinced the court that the accused failed to demonstrate moral and religious values when he committed an offence that was against his Christian beliefs. She urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment. Magistrate Aggrey Sephothi agreed with the state as he imposed a sentence of life imprisonment.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Dr Rachel Makhari, lauded the prosecutor, Constable Caroline Mothemane from the SAPS and the assistance by the Thuthuzela Care Center to the victim, for bringing the perpetrator to book.

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