KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Mrs Nonhlanhla Khoza, has heaped praise on the justice system after the Greytown Regional Court gave a stiff sentence to an elder man linked to attempted abduction and rape.
A 60-year-old man was sentenced to life and 17 years imprisonment for rape, two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping. The sexagenarian allegedly colluded with relatives of an orphaned victim.
It is alleged that the man and the victim’s relatives belong to a similar congregation. The 17-year-old victim had been residing with her relatives when the offences took place from February to July 2019.
It is believed the man asked the victim’s relatives to arrange a suitable bride for him, even though he was already married to two wives and five children.
The victim agreed to marry the man after getting pressure from her family, but later changed her mind when she got to know the man's age. She rejected the offer, but the family and the perpetrator made an arrangement that the victim be taken to Greytown in a room he was renting.
The man attempted to satisfy his desire by raping her, but failed. He then put her in his car and drove her to a bushy area outside Greytown, where he tried to rape her again, but failed.
MEC Khoza said it was shameful that in all these occurrences, relatives were involved and couldn't see anything wrong.
"Even when a child returned home after the man tried to rape her, the family continued with pre-marital rituals and accepted dowry or ilobolo from the perpetrator. The actions of this family were so immoral and they were only interested in making a decision on behalf of the child, forcing her to marry someone again her will. This is even worse because the victim is a minor," she said.
MEC Khoza said it was disgusting that the family was aware that the victim was not keen to get married, but continued to endorse the violation of the child's rights.
"Someone in this family should have been arrested together with this man. This family was an accomplice to the crime and they should be facing jail time. They were even aware that the victim was kidnapped by the accused and taken to his home in Ntembisweni, but never reported to the police," she said.
The victim was held captive and repeatedly raped for 10 days and rescued by social workers who were alerted to the young girl’s plight.
"We applaud teamwork between police, social workers and the National Prosecuting Authority for ensuring that the suspect couldn't escape. This case is exemplary that such matters can be resolved easily if statements are taken properly because the investigation becomes easy and court are able to hand down sentences that fit the crimes. As we face a barrage of gender-based violence cases, such team work is needed in order to send perpetrators of this crime to jail," she said.
When the victim was rescued, she was found chained to a table. She was helped to open the rape and kidnapping cases.
MEC Khoza said sending this man to prison for such a long time indicated that the justice cluster was committed to fighting the scourge of gender-based violence.
"No abuser will be spared. We want to see them all in jail. Many people involved in ukuthwala should be punished," she said.
ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT