- A 36-year-old man from Mpumalanga has been sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a mentally impaired woman.
- The NPA said that Kenneth Albert Sithole did not dispute having sex with the victim, but claimed they were in a relationship.
- However, according to evidence led by the State, the woman could not consent to having sexual intercourse.
A 36-year-old man from Kwa-Thandeka in Mpumalanga has been sentenced to life in prison for raping a mentally impaired woman.
On Thursday, the Piet Retief Regional Court sentenced Kenneth Albert Sithole after he pleaded guilty to a charge of rape.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, just before the trial was supposed to begin, Sithole decided to plead guilty.
In his statement, Sithole did not dispute that he had sexual intercourse with the 20-year-old victim, but claimed that they were in a relationship.
However, evidence from a prosecution psychologist revealed that the victim could not have given consent due to her mental disability.
NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said that Sithole, who was known to the victim, had lured her away from her grandmother’s house and raped her on Christmas Eve in 2018.
"The grandmother became worried about the victim’s disappearance. She went to search for her with no success and eventually reported her to the police," Nyuswa said.
“The next morning, the grandmother found the victim roaming in the street not far from her house.
The matter was reported to police, and Sithole was subsequently arrested.
During sentencing, State advocate Marlin Cairncross highlighted the plight of vulnerable members of society, in aggravation of sentence.
Cairncross argued that people could not live in a society where women and children are driven to the periphery and downgraded to second-class citizens due to people like Sithole.
Nyuswa said the court found no mitigating factors to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life. Sithole was sentenced to life imprisonment.