The Mankweng Regional Court in Limpopo sentenced a 34-years-old uncle to life imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old girl. The name of the accused is concealed to avoid secondary victimization of the victim as the accused is the uncle of the victim.
On 2 March 2019, the victim was watching television with her siblings at their home. The accused called them to his homestead.
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The accused sent other children to a nearby shop and remained with the victim. He called her into a shack and undressed her, placed her on the bed before raping her. When the other children came back, he told them that the victim had gone home.
One of the children entered the shack and saw the victim. The accused instructed her to get under the bed and hide. The other children managed to see the victim. He then gave them R20 to go and buy snacks and instructed them not to tell anyone. The children reported to their neighbour who informed the victim’s mother.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The state, represented by Advocate Makgomothi Masehela, led the evidence of three witnesses including Dr Alam who testified about the injuries that were sustained by the victim and also handed in the J88 form. The victim’s aunt was not called to testify as she had earlier indicated that she wanted the matter to be withdrawn. Her request was turned down by the state.
The case was challenging in that the victim was 12 years old when she was raped and no DNA results were available at the time of the trial. The Victim Impact Report that was prepared with the assistance of the Social Worker from Mankweng Thuthuzela Care Centre, Mmatjatji Ngoasheng, was handed in during sentencing.
MANKWENG UNCLE SENTENCED FOR RAPE OF HIS NIECE
The victim reported that she sustained injuries to her genitalia. She felt pain when urinating for almost two weeks after the incident. She also developed discharge and foul smell in her genitalia which led to her seeking medical attention. The niece felt humiliated and helpless to defend herself from the accused who ordered her not to scream when she felt pain.
She now lives in fear and cannot play or remain alone at home and cannot trust male people anymore. The child prefers to be indoors, her self-esteem has been affected negatively. Her mother stopped her from wearing short clothes to avoid the attention of male people. She also experienced nightmares due to the incident and is always absent-minded. She is unable to talk about the incident with family members as they had forced her to forgive the accused in a family gathering in which elders decided that charges must be dropped. Her academic performance has also dropped and repeated grades as she could not concentrate in class.
Members of the family confirmed that the accused apologised in a gathering. They had agreed that charges should be dropped but the state refused to protect the minor victim. They added that they feel humiliated by the incident as it affected the whole family negatively.
The Pre-Sentence report for the accused was also handed in and Probation Officer Modjadji Ramoraswi recommended that the accused be sentenced to life imprisonment for rape.
The presiding officer Karin Pillay could not find any compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence. She sentenced the accused to life imprisonment for rape as prescribed.