Rapist gets life sentence

2018-12-19 06:00

A MAN who shattered the lives of two University of KwaZulu-Natal students was yesterday handed a life sentence for raping them.

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Muntukayise Khumalo viewed the repeated rapes of the women by Sibusiso Zondi at Woodburn Stadium in 2016 as one of the worst rape cases.

“A knife was used to threaten to kill them because he [Zondi] did not want to have to spend 25 years in jail for the rapes.

“That feeling when a victim does not know what decision the attacker is going to take must be terrifying,” he said.

The women were walking to their campus residence from a church service in the early hours of the morning when Zondi “pounced” on them.

Brandishing a knife, he directed the students to a bushy area at the stadium where he raped them. It was only when he fell asleep on top of one woman that the other ran away to get help.

State prosecutor Mariam Aboobaker vehemently argued that Zondi was the author of his own misfortune.

She read out a heart-wrenching victim impact statement made by the younger woman. Aboobaker also repeated what the other had told the court about how the rape has affected her life.

Both BSc students have been psychologically scarred, they lost faith in God, and failed a year of their studies. Now they have become withdrawn and are having difficulty being in the presence of men and trusting them, she said.

They both even attempted to commit suicide. The younger woman, who was a virgin at the time, said that her entire personality has changed since the incident. Once vibrant, full of life, kind and easily approachable, she is now angry, bitter and shouts a lot.

“Something inside me broke,” she said.

She still gets flashbacks of the incident and there are days when she just cries.

The magistrate said that the women were subjected to “cruel and inhumane” treatment at Zondi’s hands. He agreed with Aboobaker that the innocent students were minding their own business and walking home when they were attacked. Khumalo said Zondi did not show any remorse. Neither did he tender an apology.

Despite the strong case against him, including DNA evidence, he persisted that he is innocent. This caused the women secondary trauma by having to come to court to relive their ordeal.

Khumalo said that Zondi having called a friend while he was raping the women to brag about it, “makes one wonder what kind of person he is”.

One of the students told the court that it seemed as if he was enjoying what he was doing to them.

Khumalo emphasised the rights of women and children and said that they have to be protected at all costs.

Zondi nodded his head, as if in agreement, when interpreter Naumi Witbooi translated into Zulu his sentences.

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