National Prosecuting Authority on sentencing of two rapist

Last week, the Mthatha Regional Court sentenced Hlamba Rhune (20) to life imprisonment for raping a 15 year-old girl on Christmas Day in 2015. Evidence presented in court was that, Rhune was consuming alcohol in a tavern at Khambi Location in the district of Mthatha.

His teenage victim was also celebrating Christmas at the said tavern with her friends. The victim went outside the tavern in the dark and Rhune followed and dragged her to an open field where he raped her. When the victim returned to the tavern, she informed other patrons of what had happened and the rapist was apprehended and handed to the police while the victim was taken to Sinawe Thuthuzela Care Centre. During the trial, Rhune pleaded not guilty claiming that the sexual intercourse was consensual.

However, Regional Court Prosecutor, Nomfundiso Tuswa led evidence of witnesses who were at the tavern when the rape was committed and presented DNA evidence linking Rhune to the rape. During sentencing proceedings, it transpired that Rhune was serving a five-year suspended sentence for statutory rape when he raped again.

Thus, the state prayed for a life sentence and the court duly sentenced him accordingly. Meanwhile, the Elliotdale Regional Court sentenced Onke Silingo (27) to fifteen years imprisonment for raping an 18 year-old high school boarder (Igxamesi) at Sholorha village last year. According to evidence presented in court, the victim was returning from her home at a neighbouring village to her boarding house on the Sunday of 14 August 2016 when she met Silingo.

The rapist threatened the Grade 12 learner with a knife, assaulted her with a belt and stick, and forced her to go with him to his home where he raped her numerous times, only releasing her in the morning.

The victim returned to her home and reported the rape and the rapist, who was known to her, was arrested. During the trial, Silingo pleaded not guilty, telling the court that the victim was his girlfriend and had consented to having sexual intercourse with him. Under cross-examination by State Advocate Noluvo Msekelwa, Silingo contradicted himself and the court found him guilty.

The state submitted a Victim Impact Statement prepared by Court Preparation Officer, Mzwandile Magazi, in which it was revealed that the rape affected the victim so much that she failed her matric even though she had been consistently passing well before incident. The NPA welcomes the sentences with the hope that it will deter other would-be rapists who prey on defenceless women and children.

Source: Government of South Africa

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