One of Joburg's 'balaclava rapists' appears for sentencing

2017-09-18 20:36
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – Alleged serial rapist Josias Xaniseka Mkansi appeared in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for his pre-sentencing proceedings on Monday.

Judge Ingrid Opperman told the court that she needed to go through victim impact reports surrounding the "reign of terror" imposed by two men known as the "balaclava rapists" when they raped, robbed and forced men to rape their partners in Alexandra, Johannesburg, between 2007 and 2015.

Sentencing has been set down for October 3.

Mkansi, 50, appeared on 16 counts of rape and 11 counts of armed robbery.

The court heard that he committed the crimes while he was on parole for an unrelated crime, and had previously violated his parole. He had previous convictions of murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition – crimes he also committed while on parole.

Mkansi appeared unfazed and arrogant, often shutting his eyes for lengthy periods of time during the proceedings in the empty courtroom. His family was in the gallery.

State demands long sentences

In aggravation of sentencing, the State’s Michelle Bayat proposed life sentences for the rapes and a minimum sentence of 15 years for each robbery. Due to the gravity of the crimes, Bayat opposed the sentences being served concurrently.

Mkansi’s modus operandi was to wait in an Alexandra park or cemetery, pounce on unsuspecting victims, and rape them. He would also rob them of their goods.

"The humiliating part was that the boyfriends or friends of some victims were also harassed and robbed or tied up, while the accused raped the victims. In the case of the oldest victim, who was in the company of her male friend, the accused compelled the boyfriend to have sex with the victim without her consent after raping her," said Bayat.  

Mkansi and his co-accused were arrested two years ago after DNA evidence linked them to a series of rapes. Mkansi did not use condoms when raping the victims.

The court heard that the two accused would cover their faces with balaclavas in order to hide their identities, as they were from the area.

Can't be rehabilitated

"He knew that teenagers and couples would go to the park, robbing them of their dignity, freedom of movement, and possessions. Many of their victims were virgins. There have been too many serial rape matters and, by far, this is the most serious one," Bayat argued.

In mitigation of sentence, the defence argued that Mkansi’s personal circumstances had driven him to commit the heinous crimes, painting him as a man from a poverty-stricken background who had endured physical abuse from his uncle. However, Bayat argued that nothing could justify Mkansi’s actions.

The defence also argued that Mkansi could be rehabilitated.

Bayat said Mkansi could not be rehabilitated as he had no respect for the law and lacked remorse as he had not accepted responsibility for his actions.

His co-accused, 37-year-old Sinja Robin Mabitsela, is due to appear in the High Court on September 26.

The two face a total of over 70 rape charges. Mkansi pleaded not guilty before his trial in January.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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