Guilty plea gets rapist 43 years’ jail time

2011-04-15 00:00

WITHIN days of his release from prison in March, a man’s rape, housebreaking and aggravated robbery charges earned him sentences of 15 and 10 years in jail.

A few days later he attempted rape again and committed two housebreakings and robberies, which earned him a further 43 years jail.

In all he traumatised six women.

The man — short, thin Sandile Thobani Zulu (23) — of France, pleaded guilty to the crimes and admitted previous convictions.

Regional magistrate Riaan de Wet imposed sentences totaling 68 years, but ordered that some should run concurrently making an effective 43 years. The sentences were met by gasps and weeping in the public gallery.

De Wet found no substantial and compelling circumstances justifying deviation from the 15-year terms for the three housebreakings and aggravated robberies, 10 years for each rape and three for the attempted rape.

The only thing that worked in Zulu’s favour, he said, was that he pleaded guilty and saved his victims the ordeals of reliving their traumatic experiences while testifying in court. His guilty plea was not enough to justify more lenient sentences.

One of the victims was a teenager who was woken from sleep, pulled from her bed and raped in front of her mother and a number of children. The teenager had recently given birth, and her new- born baby was in the room while she was raped.

De Wet said rape not only violates victims but also causes serious psychological trauma because it “degrades the victim’s very soul”.

De Wet said housebreakings, robberies and rapes were becoming more prevalent.

Yesterday in the same court another rapist was jailed for 20 years.

The court daily tries housebreaking and aggravated robbery cases. On March 17 three different aggravated robbery cases and one rape case were heard.

De Wet said robbers, rapists and would-be criminals must be warned that the courts will show no mercy for their crimes.

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