Durban - An “evil and perverted” serial rapist was sentenced on Wednesday to a total of 90 years for raping nine children.
Durban Regional Court magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe said Sipho Alfred Mdluli posed an extreme danger to society in general, and women in particular.
“It is my duty to ensure that a person like you is permanently removed from society,” he said.
Fifty-year-old Mdluli, of Ntuzuma, had pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of rape at the start of the trial, in November 2013. But last month, he was found guilty on nine of these counts.
The rapes took place during 2004 and 2012 in the Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Inanda, Cato Manor and Phoenix areas.
He lured the girls into the bush and then raped them, sometimes using a knife.
One victim had testified that she had met Mdluli at a tuckshop, and he had asked her to help him carry his belongings, leading her to an area of bush near Bridge City Shopping Centre in KwaMashu.
He asked her to remove her underwear, and when she refused, punched her in the stomach.
He then raped her and gave her R10 for a taxi.
State prosecutor Jerome Gnanapragas had argued that the girls were under the age of 16 at the time.
The rape survivors had testified at the trial and verified their ages, as did the doctor who examined them.
Life imprisonment would have been imposed unless substantial and compelling circumstances existed which justified a lesser sentence.
The magistrate on Wednesday found that in these cases the State had failed to prove the victims were under the age of 16, which led to the minimum applicable sentence of 10 years on each count.
Some of the counts are to run concurrently, meaning he was effectively sentenced to 30 years in jail.
“The most aggravating feature in this case is the fact that the accused committed a series of rape offences in the area of Inanda, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma, Phoenix and Cato Manor over a period of time on young children,” the magistrate said.
Hlophe found that Mdluli showed no respect to the rights of the parents to send their children to the shops, and no respect for the children to visit each other and to walk on the street to the shop without fear they would be raped.
“It would not be out of place to say that ordinary citizens are disgusted and outraged by the accused’s behaviour and handiwork,” he said.
Gnanapragas had submitted victim impact statements during arguments for sentencing, which the magistrate referred to on Wednesday.
One of the children said she could no longer play with other children, and did not trust men. She stayed at home and was afraid to go out.
The other children said they would never forget the day they were raped and were mentally, physically and emotionally disturbed. One of the girls said she felt embarrassed by this incident, and felt like the world rejected her.
Mdluli’s Legal Aid attorney, who did not want to be named, told the court his client was married with five children.
Before his arrest, Mdluli was self-employed as a bricklayer, and had been in custody awaiting trial since his arrest in July 2012.
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