A man from Malangeni in KwaZulu-Natal was sentenced to life imprisonment by Scottburgh Regional Court on Monday for the rape of his six-year-old niece.In February 2017, the 25-year-old man's sister-in-law left her two daughters in his care while she ran an errand."When she returned home later that day, she observed her six-year-old daughter behaving strangely and visiting the bathroom frequently," police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said.ALSO READ: Police welcome life sentence for mother who protected her baby's rapist"She examined the child and found that she had been sexually violated and was hurt. When questioned, the child replied that she had been raped by her uncle and warned not to tell anyone."The matter was reported to the Umzinto SAPS and a case of rape was registered and assigned to the Umzinto Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit (FCS) for investigation.The uncle, who fled the scene, was later arrested.ALSO READ: 'My daughter is broken' – Father of Brickz’s rape victim speaks outThe uncle cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child.KwaZulu-Natal acting police commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa, commended the FCS unit for the investigation and for securing a conviction."It is really disheartening when elders, who are supposed to care [for] and protect children, instead betray their trust and abuse them. These sentences will send out a strong message to others who may have thoughts of committing similar offences," he said.