Graveyard rapists sentenced to 19 years each

2015-05-21 20:20
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Mbombela - Two men who raped two women near a graveyard in Mpumalanga have been sentenced to 19 years imprisonment each.

Skhumbuzo Mlangeni, 27, and Philemon Chibi, 25, both from Pienaar Trust near Mbombela, were sentenced when they appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday.

Prosecutor Magda Marais said the men faced two counts of rape following an attack on two women, both aged 21, in broad daylight, next to a cemetery at Tekwane North on May 22 2014.

The two pleaded guilty to the charges while a third accused, Mduduzi Nkosi, 23, pleaded not guilty. His case was postponed to June 1 for trial.

Mlangeni and Chibi admitted through a statement read in court that on the said date they met the two women walking next to the cemetery and threatened them with a firearm.

They told the court that they then forced them to a nearby bush where they made them to take off their clothes before taking turns raping them.

The court heard that Nkosi also participated in the rapes.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert said the court was satisfied that the two accepted the elements of their plea statements.

“You are, therefore, convicted as charged on the two counts of rape,” she said.

Marais said rape was a serious crime.

"This court alone has about 260 rape cases outstanding. The court should send a clear message to the community that this conduct will never be tolerated,” she said.

Joubert said the women had a constitutional right to walk freely within their community.

“They did not deserve to be violated, humiliated and traumatised in that manner. The court has been informed that one of them was still a virgin. That has now been taken away,” she said.

Joubert said she was happy that Mlangeni and Chibi's guilty plea saved the victims the trauma of testifying in court.

“While you were getting excited from raping them, they suffered severely as they kept watching each other being raped. Although no injuries have been reported from the victims, the court is aware of the severe emotional and distress you inflicted.

"There are substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment, after you pleaded guilty."

Joubert said she would combine both counts in order to give a single sentence to each convict.

She sentenced them to 19 years imprisonment each and declared them both unfit to possess firearms.

“In the event of you getting paroled, officials from correctional services should inform the victims and their families in order to make their recommendations,” Joubert said. 

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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