The Scottburgh Regional Court has sentenced Sakhile Mhlungu (44), to three terms of life and various other terms of imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the string of rapes and kidnappings he committed between April 2019 and April 2021. He also pleaded guilty to attempted rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The offences were committed in Sawoti, Mnsinsini and Highflats where Mhlungu preyed on ten females aged between 11 and 22 years old. He would offer them a lift in his motor vehicle, taking them to a nearby forest, where he raped them. Following the incidents, the complainants opened cases at the police station, describing the motor vehicle driven by Mhlungu. The police circulated this description, and Mhlungu was caught while driving his motor vehicle. A subsequent identity parade confirmed that he was the one who had attacked the complainants. Mhlungu was also linked to some of the complainants by DNA evidence.

In aggravation of the sentence, Prosecutor Active Njakazi handed in Victim Impact Statements, compiled by some of the complainants and facilitated by Court Preparation Officer Nokukhanya Mkhize. One of the complainants said that she had contemplated suicide due to the trauma she endured. Some complainants said that they could not go to school for fear of seeing Mhlungu. They said that the trauma they experienced had affected their academic performance.

Mhlungu was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment for the rapes where the victims were under the age of 18 years old, 10 years imprisonment for each of the remaining counts of rape, three years imprisonment for attempted rape, three years imprisonment for each of the kidnapping charges, and 15 years imprisonment for the robbery with aggravating circumstances. He will effectively serve life imprisonment. In addition, the court ordered that his name be entered in the National Register of Sex Offenders and his particulars be included in the National Child Protection Register. The court deemed him unfit to possess a firearm and found him unsuitable to work with children.

The NPA applauds the successful prosecution, and we commend the work done by the Prosecution and Police. It is incumbent on us to fight for justice on behalf of the victims of crime.

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