Bushbuckridge - A Mpumalanga man has been sentenced to life in prison for raping his cousin twice in one day. Billy Mokoena, 38, from Green Valley, outside Bushbuckridge, was found guilty of raping his relative and was sentenced to life in the Mhala Magistrate's Court on Thursday.Mokoena was arrested for housebreaking and rape in April 2013.He broke into the home of his then 19-year-old cousin and held her at knifepoint and raped her. Mokoena then took the woman to his friend's home and raped her a second time.Mokoena made a plea for his sentence to be reduced on the grounds that he had an illness. Magistrate Elmarie Theron rejected the plea. Handing down the sentence, Theron said: "It is shocking that you raped your own cousin first of all; it is also shocking that you broke into her house and threatened her with a knife. As a relative, she is supposed to depend on you for protection and for that, the court will not be merciful."She said children and women needed to feel protected and safe. She added that housebreaking was an invasion of their space and that rape was degrading."We have to send out a message that the law exists and it should be taken seriously," said Theron.After sentencing, the victim said she was relieved that the man who hurt her finally got what he deserved.