The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has welcomed a string of sentences meted against rapists recently.
On Friday, 04 September 2020, the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court which was sitting in Nelspruit did not hesitate to sentence 24 year old Hendry Nicolus Mhlongo and 26 year old Tsepang Reginald Dibakwana to a double life sentence each for raping a number of women around Hazyview. Their reign of terror spanned from 2013 to 2016, where they were breaking into houses of victims, kidnapping them at times in front of their spouses, robbing them of their belongings before raping them. In one heartless incident, Mhlongo and Dibakwane broke into a couple's house where they robbed them of their belongings at gun point, Kidnapped the wife in front of her husband then went to a secluded area and senselessly gang raped the her. In another incident, they deliberately shot a Pastor when committing an armed robbery against him. As a result, different cases were registered by the victims respectively and the investigation by police yielded positive results as the two were finally arrested in 2016, after being fingered as the ones behind the crimes. Mhlongo and Dibakwana went on trial and got convicted, hence their punishment to languish in prison for the rest of their lives. The duo were also slapped with an additional 220 years imprisonment term each for related charges which were committed simultaneously with the rape incidents and these include house robberies with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and assault.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, 08 September 2020, Alfred Happy Mnyankeni, aged 33, was handed a hefty sentence as well by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court sitting at Middleburg for raping five women aged between 16 and 40, from 2011 to 2018, at areas around Moloto near Kwamhlanga. Mnyankeni preyed on his victims who walked alone in the streets where he would often threaten them with a knife, drag them to secluded areas either in abandoned buildings or thick bushes where he would rape and rob them of their belongings. Mnyankeni was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the minor. An additional sentence was imposed on the offender for raping four other women as well as a string of violent crimes including robbery and assault, for these offences he was sentenced to 86 years combined.
A 42 year old Mambawulane John Ndlovu was also sentenced by the Emalahleni Regional Court on Tuesday, 08 September 2020, after his conviction a day before for rape. He committed this heinous crime on 24 January 2019 and the matter was reported to the police who arrested the suspect hence the sentence to 10 years direct imprisonment.
In another sentencing, 37 year old Philip Hadebe, was not spared from a harsh punishment by the Kriel Regional Court for raping an elderly woman on 02 May 2019.
According to the court findings, Hadebe was staying at a rented place belonging to the woman who was 59 years old at the time. In the evening of the said date, Hadebe approached the woman and convinced her that there was something wrong inside his room hence he urgently needed her intervention. This was just but a well-orchestrated evil plan by Hadebe to pounce on his victim. Unbeknown to the woman, she went to verify the claims and upon her arrival in the room, the accused raped her. After this act, Hadebe absconded. Police were notified about the incident and a case of rape was opened where a manhunt was launched. Police relentlessly worked on the case where their hard work resulted in a breakthrough when they arrested Hadebe in Gauteng during July 2019. He then went on trial hence his sentence to 13 years direct imprisonment for his lustful deeds.
General Mondli Zuma has also commended the sterling work done by the team of investigators, Prosecutors as well as the Judiciary which led to the hefty sentences imposed on the rapists. "We believe that these sentences will serve as a deterrence to others who might think of perpetuating crimes against women, " said General Zuma.