Missionary rapists jailed

2008-01-25 20:30

Pietermaritzburg - Three young Port Shepstone men who gang-raped and robbed two Mormon missionaries were jailed for an effective 44 years in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday.

Judge Gregory Kruger ordered that they stay in jail for 25 years before being considered for parole.

The men, and their ages at the time the crime was committed in June 2006, are Siyabonga Nzimande, 21, Wonderboy Mthembu, 18, and Bongani Ntombela, 23, all of the Port Shepstone area.

All had previous convictions for crime.

'Raped and robbed them'

They waylaid the missionaries who were walking home near Port Shepstone, dragged them into bushes and raped and robbed them. The trio then robbed five other people at gunpoint.

The court found one missionary was raped by all three and a fourth gang member, Lindani Luthuli, who is to stand trial alone.

The three were convicted of two rapes of the other missionary who was shot when she resisted them and raped while unconscious.

She is receiving medical treatment for the bullet which is lodged in her lung. Both victims lost their virginity, and both are receiving psychiatric treatment.

Questioned their belief in God

Their experiences made them feel humiliated, degraded, sad and made them question their belief in God.

One testified: "I kept asking myself how God could allow this to happen?"

For the two rapes of one woman they were sentenced to 20 years' jail and 16 years for the four rapes of the other victim.

Half of this 16-year sentence and two sentences of eight years for robbing each of the missionaries, ten years for the attempted murder of the missionary who was shot, and five years for the unlawful possession of a pistol, were ordered to run concurrently with the 20-year rape sentence.

They were sentenced to three eight-year terms, all to run concurrently, and two further eight-year terms also to run concurrently with each other.

The effective sentence is 44 years.