The Nelspruit Sexual Offences Court convicted and sentenced two men from Pienaar Trust, Thulani Lukhele (36) and Moses Ntuli (35), to life imprisonment for gang rape each. On the evening of 06 December 2012, the victim was coming from a traditional ceremony at her neighbour’s place when she was accosted by an unknown person who whistled to his friend, and they met. They assaulted the victim, dragged her to a house belonging to one of the accused and raped her taking turns. The victim was seen naked by a neighbour and reported her ordeal to her. She was after that taken for medical treatment and psychosocial support. The police investigations led to the arrest of the accused. In court, the pair pleaded not guilty and the matter was subsequently struck off the roll provisionally pending the outcome of DNA results and reinstated in 2018.

During the trial, the state relied on the evidence of the victim, the first report testified that she was sweeping the yard when she saw the victim walking slowly and dirty. J88 medical report and positive DNA were presented. It linked the pair to the offence. The Court evaluated the evidence placed before it and found the accused guilty. State Prosecutor Thembi Mabuza told the court that the accused showed no remorse for their actions and preyed on defenceless women arguing for the court to impose a suitable sentence. Victim impact statement facilitated by the Court Preparation Officer Zodwa Lekhuleni where the victim detailed the pain and trauma, she suffered at the hands of the accused was read into records. The court sentenced the accused to life imprisonment each. It ordered the accused names to be entered into the National Register for Sexual Offenders and were declared unfit to possess firearms.

The National Prosecuting Authority commends the prosecution and the police for their collaboration in securing the conviction. We will continue to strive for justice for the victims of gender-based violence and femicide to fight the scourge.

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