Johannesburg - A serial rapist who violated girls under the age of 10 in Vaal townships and infected most of them with HIV has been sentenced to 300 years in jail.
On Thursday, Judge Jakobus Strijdom sentenced Moeketsi Monyake to 12 life sentences for each count of the rapes and five years for each of the six kidnapping charges.
The 34-year-old from Sharpeville targeted little girls in his neighbourhood and the nearby townships, luring them by promising to buy them food or chips.
At times, he befriended their families.
The girls were aged between six and 10.
Monyake’s reign of terror began in 2010 and ended last year, when he was arrested.
He would kidnap the girls from their homes at night or from streets where they were playing, taking them to nearby bushes or desolate places, where he repeatedly raped them through the night.
He would then leave them to find their own way home.
One of the victims was found by police the following morning and taken home.
Some of the victims had sustained such serious injuries during the rape ordeal that they had to be hospitalised for weeks and receive intensive counselling.
Tears streamed down the face of one of the girls on Thursday as Monyake was led down to the holding cells following his sentencing.
She was among family members and relatives of the victims who packed the court gallery.
Sentencing Monyake, Judge Strijdom said rape was an intrusion of human rights and a violation of dignity.
He said society had called for the courts to deal with offenders of such crimes sternly and decisively.
Judge Strijdom added that there were aggravating circumstances in this case, which included the ages of the victims and the injuries they sustained. The injuries were explained in the medical reports, he said.
Some of the complainants were raped several times, the judge pointed out.
After sentencing him, Judge Strijdom also informed Monyake that his name would be listed in the sex offenders register.
As the judge told him this, a tall, skinny Monyake stood emotionless in the dock.
A grandmother of one of Monyake’s victims, who may not be identified, was happy with the sentence but said it would never take away what he did to her granddaughter.
“This man has brought so much pain in our community. My granddaughter’s personality has changed. She will never be the same. She is not coping at school and she is scared of men.”
A mother, whose daughter was among the victims repeatedly raped by Monyake, said she was praying to God to give her strength to forgive him.
“Every time I look at my daughter I become very angry when I think about what happened to her. She will never be a normal girl again. She was infected with HIV and has to take treatment for the rest of her life. I don’t know why this has to happen to our children,” she said.
She added that she was happy that Monyake would remain behind bars for the rest of his life. “He won’t be able to continue violating young children.”