The Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court has sentenced 27-year-old Lesotho national, Tshepo Masaleng, to two life terms and 25-years imprisonment after convicting him on four counts of kidnapping and four counts of rape.
Masaleng abused three minor girls aged 13, 14, and 16 years, and another young woman who was aged 18 at the time.
Gauteng regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Lumka Mahanjana said the presiding magistrate also ordered that Masaleng’s name be added on the National Register for Sexual Offenders. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.
“On April 29, 2016, while the 18-year-old girl was walking from school to visit her aunt in Sebokeng, she met Maseleng. He introduced himself with a false name and proposed love and when the complainant refused, he pointed something at her, which looked like a firearm, and forced her into an old building where he raped her,” said Mahanjana.
“After the rape, he accompanied her to where she was going and told her not to tell anyone. On her arrival at her aunt’s place, she told her older male cousin what had happened. He then took her to the police station to report the matter.”
In a separate incident, on December 15, 2018, the three minor girls were on their way to church in the evening when they met Masaleng.
“He asked them where they were going and when one of the girls tried to run, he told them he had a weapon they cannot outrun. He instructed them to walk with him until they reached an abandoned building next to Thabong Mall. He told them to strip naked and face the wall, whereby he proceeded to rape them one by one,” said Mahanjana.
“When he was done, he told them to stop walking alone at night. While running to the church they met a woman whom they told about the incident. The woman called the pastor of the church where the minors were going.”
At church, the pastor called the police, and the children were taken to the police station as well as a medical examination.
Masaleng was arrested in December at Thabong Mall when one of the minor children who was with her mother spotted him and told her mother.
“The mother confronted him and the community members who saw the confrontation apprehended him and called the police. He has been in custody since his arrest after the State successfully opposed bail,” Mahanjana said.
“He was linked by DNA evidence to the offences. However, Masaleng pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.”
Mahanjana said the four victims were prepared by the court preparation officer, Lizzy Dlamini, before they testified in court through intermediary services. Dlamini also referred the victims for counselling.
“In their Victim Impact Statements, one victim indicated that she still has suicidal thoughts because she cannot get over what happened. Another one indicated that she was proud of her virginity but it was taken forcefully,” said Mahanjana.
In aggravation of sentence, Regional Court Prosecutor, Vusi Gilbert Mbabane, submitted that vulnerable groups in society, particularly women and children, should be protected.
He added that women and children in South Africa should have freedom of movement, regardless of the time. He further asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions in Gauteng, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi has applauded the “good work” done by the prosecutor, the court preparation officer, and the police investigation team.
Mzinyathi also appreciated the role played by community members in protecting the victims.
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