Judge hopes message will get to rapists

2012-11-23 00:00

A HIGH court of appeal has said it is hoped that the message will eventually get through that rapists — especially child rapists — will be severely dealt with.

Judge Johann Ploos van Amstel said this in a reserved judgment in which the high court confirmed the conviction and 20-year jail sentence imposed on ­43-year-old Themba Mthembu in connection with the rape of a 10-year-old girl.

The rape of the child — who was the daughter of Mthembu’s girlfriend at the time — took place in KwaZulu-Natal.

The appeal court dismissed submissions that the regional court magistrate at Verulam, J. Pillay, did not satisfy herself that the child was a competent witness, and found she did establish if the little girl understood the oath and the difference between truth and lies.

According to the evidence, Mthembu was in a relationship with the child’s mother. The children slept on the floor in the same bedroom as the couple.

On the night of the crime the child woke to find Mthembu on top of her. He told her to keep quiet and raped her.

The child told a neighbour about the rape after the neighbour asked why she was limping the following day.

Medical evidence supported her allegation.

Confirming the 20-year jail sentence imposed on Mthembu by the trial court, Van Amstel said the rape of children in this country was continuing unabated.

“The court rolls show that rape cases are dealt with almost on a daily basis.

“One can only hope that eventually the message will get through that rapists, and particularly child rapists, will be dealt with severely,” he said.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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