Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko has welcomed the "hefty" jail sentence handed to child rapist and "heartless paedophile" Nicholas Ninow in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.
"I am delighted with the hefty sentence imposed against this heartless paedophile who preyed on this innocent child," Mazibuko said in a statement on Friday.
"The sentence demonstrates government's effort in addressing the scourge of violence against women and children, particularly as it happened when the country is about to kick start the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign."
The 21-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for raping a seven-year-old girl in a bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria.
Judge Papi Masopa also sentenced Ninow to five years in prison for defeating the ends of justice and five years for the possession of an illegal substance.
The five year sentence for defeating the ends of justice will run concurrently with the life sentence, while his sentence for the possession of drugs will run in addition to the life sentence. His total sentence, therefore, is life in prison and five years.
Masopa ordered that Ninow's details be recorded in the register of sex offenders, which Mazibuko said "will effectively prohibit him from being employed in an environment that involves children".
"Restaurants are supposed to be places of relaxation and safety for our children. We cannot allow our children to be abused by people entrusted with the responsibility of educating, nurturing and protecting them," she added.
"The Department of Community Safety monitored this case very closely through our victim empowerment centre, Ikhaya Lethemba, to ensure that the criminal justice system executed a harsher sentence on Ninow.
"A word of appreciation to our committed and dedicated staff members and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offence team based at Ikhaya Lethemba for ensuring that appropriate support was given to the victim during the duration of the trial," Mazibuko said.
She added that the centre "continues to be a sanctuary for victims of abuse and committed staff members walk the path with them by providing psycho-social services, medico-legal services and during the court process. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to support victims of abuse."