Govt welcomes Springs bishop's life sentence for rape of a minor

Government has welcomed the life imprisonment sentence handed down on Wednesday to a bishop found guilty of raping a minor. Bishop Jabu Ndaba of the Trinity Apostolic Church was sentenced by the Springs Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

According to TimesLive, Ndaba was found guilty in July of raping a 15-year-old girl, also a member of the church, on several occasions between 2015 and November 2016. The African Reporter reported that the 52-year-old was also sentenced to 10 years for a second count of rape of the same victim.

Ndaba reportedly lured the victim and another girl to his home on several occasions and raped her, telling her that he had divine powers that could destroy her if she refused him. He will reportedly return to court in December to face two more counts of rape.

On Thursday, in a statement, Government Communication and Information System acting director general Phumla Williams said government hoped the sentence would send a message to society that women and children abusers will not be tolerated.

"Government will not tolerate rape and all forms of abuse against women and children. It becomes even more appalling when these crimes are committed by religious leaders who claim to be servants of God. This is a precedent-setting case which indicates that perpetrators, irrespective of their position in society, will face the full might of the law," Williams said.

"We must all spare a thought for this young child who has been violated in such a cruel and inhumane way by a person who was probably trusted and looked up to by his church members and the community."

She said those who harm women and children, "even if they are found in our churches", should be held accountable by the criminal justice system.

"Government remains committed to support victims of gender-based violence and will not hesitate to support society in calling for harsh sentences for the perpetrators of these crimes.  

"We continue to adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards child abuse and we call on communities to partner with government to address this challenge," she said.

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