Taxi serial rapist given 13 life sentences

2018-11-22 13:33

The Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court has handed down 13 life sentences and 340 additional years to serial taxi rapist Lebogang Gift Mokoena.  

The sentences will run concurrently. 

"Sexual abuse of women and children continues unabated, the picture looks even gloomier now. The public is outraged by this growing scourge and there is growing pressure on the court to impose harsher sentences," Acting Judge Cassim Moosa told the court during sentencing.

"Rape is a crime that not only violates the body of the complainant but also vexes the soul," he added. 

Mokoena was found guilty on 43 counts on October 15. 

This comes after the 29-year-old taxi driver pleaded guilty to 13 counts of rape, eight of kidnapping, nine of robbery, nine of pointing an object that resembles a firearm, two of aiding and abetting someone to commit a sexual offence, and one of sexual assault, News24 earlier reported.

READ: Taxi driver found guilty on 43 counts of rape and kidnapping

Six out the eight rape survivors testified that they were raped while the taxi was in motion, while two said they were raped in open veld. 

In his plea statement, Mokoena revealed his modus operandi, stating that he and his co-accused used to kidnap, rape and rob female passengers across parts of Gauteng while driving around in a white Toyota Quantum minibus taxi. 

Mokoena carried out his reign of terror over a period of 13 months between September 26, 2016, and October 12, 2017. 

He was apprehended by the police at a house in Molapo, Soweto, on October 23, 2017.

Propensity for violence

The court found no substantial exceptional circumstances to deviate from handing down a harsh sentence as the accused did not dispute the allegations that he committed the crimes. 

READ: Taxi driver serial rapist deserves harshest sentence - Defence argues

The court also found that the accused admitted that the victims could contract diseases or fall pregnant through his reckless conduct when he raped them without protection. 

"Evidence shows the accused has a propensity for violence towards women. 

"The accused subjected the victims to dire consequences had they not sought medical attention at the first opportunity," Moosa explained. 

NPA welcomes sentence

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the sentence, saying it set the tone for future offenders in crimes against women and children. 

"We argued that Gift committed crimes of a predatory nature and we are glad that he is paying for the wrongdoing that he is doing. 

"We believe Acting Judge Cassim Moosa has sent a very strong message that as a state and society we are against gender-based violence and we will protect society against these crimes," NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said outside the court.

On November 27, Mokoena is expected to be sentenced in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court for kidnapping, rape and two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The case in Roodepoort relates to the rape of a woman in the presence of her son.

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Read more on:    npa  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  rape

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