News | Opinion
It is hoped that this sentence will send out a strong message that GBV [gender-based violence] will not be tolerated within our society.”
It’s a well-meaning phrase from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which becomes more redundant with every
rape and every sexual assault on women, children and men.
The latest horror to come from our courts was the rape of a wheelchair-bound 83-year-old woman in the Ntshawini area near KwaDukuza by now 22-year-old Siyabonga Buthelezi.
According to the NPA, in November 2018, the rapist entered her home in the early hours of the morning.
“He dropped her from the bed onto the floor and repeatedly banged her head on the cement. The accused then raped
her, stole her bag, containing R27, and fled the scene,” NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said.
Buthelezi’s sentence? In a nutshell, 25 years, which is what our justice system considers to be “life”.
Then there’s Thabisile Ntayiya, 18, from Sebokeng, who was convicted of murder, rape, and robbery by the Vereeniging Circuit Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Regional Court for crimes committed in 2019 when he was 16.
Ntayiya was sentenced to 13 years for murder, 10 years for rape, eight years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and two years for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The sentences run concurrently.
On 19 January, 2019, he knocked at the door of a 39-year-old woman who lived with her three-year-old son.
Ntayiya spoke in a female voice and when the door was opened, he stabbed her multiple times on the neck and raped her.
Thirteen years. Ntayaya will, in all likelihood, serve much less time, as will Buthelezi.
I am curious to know what the mitigating circumstances are for a 16 year old who rapes a woman while she’s dying.
What would it take for this particular court to hand down a life sentence?
Dismemberment? Setting her on fire? Who knows. Plainly, the mindless viciousness wasn’t enough.
It is said children learn from their parents. I’m not entirely sure if kicking old women out of wheelchairs, or raping a woman while dying, is learnt behaviour, but I’m sure someone will say these little angels were misunderstood.
They knew what they were doing. The idea of “blind rage” and “red mist” can only get you so far, it has to be in the moment – and you have to be fighting for your life.
The law will only allow for cold, clinical assessment of how much your life is in danger when you intend to use a firearm to protect yourself against imminent death, or that of another person.
Regarding Ntayiya, the prosecutor, advocate Annalie Coetzee, said “the sentence sends a message that minors who commit offences of gender-based violence will not be spared the full might of the law”.
No, no it doesn’t. Because if it did there would be far fewer of theses crimes showing this level of viciousness.
A televised public flogging in the centre of town is what is needed to get a real message across that crimes of this ilk will no longer be tolerated.
Some judge said a long time ago society should show it was the bigger person. To hell with that. We’re being raped while we’re dying.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.