Mbombela - A Mpumalanga father who claimed that his 14-year-old daughter fabricated allegations that he raped her twice has been sentenced to 23 years imprisonment.The 39-year-old father from Mbombela, who may not be named to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced when he appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday.He was arrested on February 22 last year after he was accused of raping his daughter more than once.The man, who had been in custody since his arrest, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape."You have protested your innocence since the trial began and kept saying the victim and her uncles fabricated the evidence against you. Your action was degrading and devastating and far-reaching to the child and family, as they had to be subjected to the nightmare by coming to testify before court," said Magistrate Vanessa Joubert.The magistrate said the accused's actions affected the family's unity and exposed the abuse of power where financial matters were of concern."You were separated with her mother. You used your pride and took advantage of your daughter's weakness and sexually abused her every time she visited you at your place," said Joubert.Lack of remorseThe magistrate said the accused did not take the child’s rights into account and he also did not play the role of a fatherly figure to her."Your daughter trusted and respected you in a manner she could do anything you said. Your lack of remorse indicates you refuse to take responsibility of your actions. She was your own daughter. She was only 14 years old and you raped her more than once. This is aggravating. You have shown you lack understanding of her," she said.Joubert said the victim had suffered mental impairment as a result of the abuse caused by the one person who should have protected her."A child's rape by her father is reprehensible. It is plagued by a stigma and it causes divisions in a family. The court acknowledges the pledges of society to deal harshly with offenders in such cases. You pose a threat to both the community and your family," said Joubert.Joubert said the court took into account that the man had been in custody since his arrest in 2015, which made her deviate from the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment."You are sentenced to 23 years for each of the two counts and the sentences will run concurrently. You are declared unfit to work with children and your name will be entered into the register for child offenders," said Joubert.