The Butterworth Regional Court has sentenced Sinethemba Xilongile (30) to two life imprisonment terms following his conviction on two rape counts of two women aged 17 and 18.
The rape of the two women took place on the night of July 6, 2019, when the two victims were walking from a traditional ceremony in the Mputhi area in Dutywa.
Xilongile, who had been attending the same traditional ceremony followed them, threatened them with a knife, and directed them to the nearby mealie fields.
He then tied them to one another and raped them repeatedly.
“He released the younger victim, and upon getting home she reported her ordeal to her sister. He took the older victim to his home where he raped her again. She only managed to escape when someone came knocking on the door of the rapist’s home. She ran to her home and immediately reported the rape to her sister,” said National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali.
Both victims opened rape cases on the following morning, but Xilongile was only arrested in May 2022, after returning to the area after being on the run since committing the rape.
“During the trial, Xilongile pleaded not guilty and denied ever being near the mealie fields on that night and claiming to have been in a romantic relationship with the 18-year-old victim. Under cross-examination by prosecutor Tando Ndzube, Xilongile contradicted himself and could not explain why the person he claimed to have been his girlfriend ran away from his home when he opened the door to his visitor,” Tyali added.
The court found the evidence of the victims and that of their sisters, to whom they reported the rapes, credible.
The prosecutor argued that the court should not deviate from the prescribed sentence of life and for the court to send a clear message to rapists and would-be rapists that the justice system is not tolerant of the abuse of women.
Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecution, Barry Madolo commended the prosecutor and the investigating officer for ensuring that the case is swiftly dealt with.