MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE PLUS 15 YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR RAPE AND ROBBERY WITH AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES – N'wamitwa Times

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE PLUS 15 YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR RAPE AND ROBBERY WITH AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES

The Tzaneen Regional Court convicted and sentenced a 27-year-old man, Thabo Malematja to one life plus 15 years imprisonment for rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The convictions and sentences emanated from the incident that took place on 28 March 2022 in Belleview village, Limpopo Province. On the day of the incident, the minor victim of 17 years of age was walking alone in the street when the accused approached her and took out a butcher knife. He then accosted and forced her to secluded areas at knifepoint before raping her twice.

During the ordeal, the victim was also robbed off an amount of R150 which she testified that it belonged to her grandmother. The accused was unknown to the victim and he was later arrested. During the trial Malematja pleaded not guilty to all charges put against him.

The prosecutor, Emmanuel Phatudi led the testimony of the victim. The Victim Impact Statements detailing how the incident negatively impacted her were also presented in court. The victim expressed the humiliation and trauma she suffered because of the ordeal and further indicated that she can no longer walk freely on the street or in the areas surrounded by bushes as they remind her of what happened to her.

In arguing for a sentence, the prosecutor submitted to the court that rape humiliates, degrades and invades the privacy and dignity of the victims.

He submitted that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances justifying a lesser sentence because the accused did not even display signs of remorse. He further submitted that the court should not deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment and 15 years imprisonment.

The presiding officer, Mrs Lamminga agreed with the state and stated that the accused has left the victim with a lifelong wound that will always remind her of the ordeal and further stated that he was not remorseful. The victim is now suffering from nightmares and flashbacks because of the incident.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ivy Thenga welcomed the sentence and hopes that the imposed sentence will send a strong message to would-be offenders and further commended prosecutor Phathudi and investigating officer Sergeant Glender Mathebula of Family Violence Child and Sexual Offences of Tzaneen.

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