Gang rapists who terrorised community get 25 years

2016-11-24 12:09


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Mbombela – Two men found guilty of aggravated robbery, gang raping two young women next to a cemetery, and terrorising a local community have each been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Mandla Matsane, 27, and Sthembiso Maphanga, 28, from Jerusalem Trust outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga, were sentenced by the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday.

They pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert said the two accused had grabbed the victims – aged 18 and 23 – on April 28, 2012, at gunpoint. They had dragged them to various sites, where they robbed them of their belongings and gang raped them.

"The two complainants were crying when giving evidence in court. After four years, they are still traumatised and shocked. They expressed fear [of] what will happen if the two accused are released. They suffered severe emotional scars, although they sustained no physical injuries," said Joubert.

The magistrate said the first victim had been returning from her brother’s birthday party around 00:45. When she reached her uncle’s yard and was about to knock on the door, the two accused attacked her. Matsane grabbed her, while Maphanga fired a shot into the air after her uncle opened the door.

"You dragged her to a place next to a cemetery, where you took turns and gang raped her. You then robbed her of her Nokia cellphone. You walked with her on the street where you met a group of people. Accused two (Maphanga) fired a shot in the air and, as the people escaped, accused one grabbed the second victim," said Joubert.

'Everybody was violated'

She said they proceeded with the two victims to a place next to a church, where they raped the second complainant. She was also robbed of her cellphone and R70 in cash. The complainants went to a nearby house after they were released and reported the incident.

"Five witnesses who were with the second victim testified. Two more people said they were robbed by the two accused that night. The witnesses confirmed the accused were armed with a firearm. Everybody was violated and shots were fired at whoever they came across," she said.

The magistrate said the complainants’ evidence was corroborated by DNA results which confirmed that the two accused's semen was found on both of them.

"One of the victims was employed before the incident. She quit her job and didn’t want to speak to her mother. She avoided everyone and feared for her life. She also never wanted to go on the street alone without anyone accompanying her. She felt insecure," said Joubert.

She said the two accused had degraded and violated the two complainants in such a way that they would carry the scars for the rest of their lives.

'He shot at whoever they came across'

The magistrate said the two accused, during evidence in mitigation of sentence, had put the blame on their upbringing. They said they never had a fatherly figure for guidance, which led them to commit the crimes.

"The court is aware that accused two, who is now a cripple and uses crutches, was shot in the leg by police during arrest. He’s the one who carried a firearm and he exercised the power of being in control.

"He shot at whoever they came across. He now puts the blame on the fact that he was an orphan at a younger age. The firearm he used was also not found," she said.

Joubert sentenced the accused to 20 years and five years for raping and robbing the first complainant, and another 20 years and five years for the same counts in respect of the second complainant.

Sentences for the charges relating to the second victim would run concurrently with those of the first victim.

Read more on:    mpumalanga  |  crime

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