Rapist faces life terms

2010-04-08 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG high court Judge Kate Pillay and assessors yesterday convicted a Sobantu man, Sibusiso Joseph Sithole (37), of 12 charges, including multiple counts of rape, indecent assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault and attempted robbery.

Pillay said she needs time to study the latest amendments to the Sexual Offences Act, which has a bearing on some of the rape charges of which Sithole was found guilty.

For that purpose she delayed passing sentence on him until April 16.

According to state submissions, on at least three of the rape charges Sithole could face life terms, while at least four other charges could attract terms of 15 years’ imprisonment each.

Another charge could attract 10 years’ imprisonment.

Sithole was convicted of having sexually assaulted four women in the vicinity of M.L. Sultan school in Pietermaritzburg after approaching them on the pretext of offering them help.

They gave evidence identifying him as their attacker and he was also linked to three of the women via his DNA.

In his evidence Sithole denied that he had sexual intercourse with any of the victims, although he did not dispute the presence of his DNA, which he said he could not explain.

One of the victims told the court that when she resisted his attempt to have anal intercourse, he hit her with a brick, pushed her to the floor and bit her in the chest.

He also twisted her arm and tore her bra while searching for money.

Another victim said Sithole raped her while threatening her with a knife.

When she cried he threatened to “call his boys” if she cried too loudly. She said she had complied with his demand for oral sex because he had a knife.

He raped her twice again.

When he finished he threw a piece of plank at her, hitting her ankle.

The court was told that Sithole has two previous convictions — one in 2004 for theft and another for robbery in 2005.

He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for the robbery and was on parole (having been released in September 2006) when he committed the newest crimes.

Judge Pillay commented while considering issues around sentencing that Sithole has not taken responsibility for his actions “in the face of overwhelming evidence” and said he had graduated from lesser crimes, such as theft and robbery, to rape.

“Clearly he is a danger to society,” she said.

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