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By Nicholas Zaal

Digital Journalist

Father sentenced to two life terms for rape, attempted murder of 11-months-old daughter

While handing down the sentence, the judge said the crime brought about a sense of shock and disbelief in the community.

The Pretoria High Court on Friday sentenced a 32-year-old man to two life terms for rape and attempted murder of his 11-months-old daughter.

The man from Olievenhoutbosch, Gauteng, was also given two years of direct imprisonment for defeating the ends of justice.

Furthermore, the court ordered that his name be recorded in the sexual offenders register.

ALSO READ: ‘Take your children’s concerns seriously,’ NPA says as man sentenced to 115 years for raping young boys

While the mother was away

“The father and the mother of the baby were in a love relationship, and on 30 April 2023, in the evening while the couple was at their place of residence, the neighbour came and asked the mother of the child, to help her cook since she was having an overnight ceremony,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana explained.

“The mother then left the baby with the father. The following day in the early hours of the morning while the mother was still assisting the neighbour, she saw her partner on the streets.

“When she asked about the whereabouts of the baby, he told her that he had left the baby sleeping.”

The pair returned home where the mother found her baby daughter lying on her stomach with her back arched.

“When the mother touched the child to change her diaper she began to cry. As the mother was changing the diaper, she noticed that the baby’s private parts were swollen and there was semen on the diaper,” Mahanjana added.

“She then told the father that the child was raped, and they should take her to the clinic.”

Instead, the father said they should take their daughter to a neighbour who was also a traditional healer.

ALSO READ: Crime stats: Most victims raped in their own homes by people they know

“During the consultation with the traditional healer, the father confessed to raping the child.

“That is when the traditional healer advised them to seek medical assistance as he could not help them any further.”

But when the couple returned home, the father threatened the mother with a knife and instructed her to not take their daughter to a clinic as it would attract attention from the community.

“The following day, the mother went to Limpopo pretending to visit her other [other] child but instead took the baby to a clinic in Venda but was told to return to Pretoria and report the case.

“After arriving back in Pretoria on 4 May 2023, she reported the case to the police and later that day, the father was arrested at his place of residence and has been in custody since.”

‘A crisis in respect of rape’

Mahanjana said after he was found guilty, the man asked the court through his legal representation to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence because he is a first-time offender.

“However, the state prosecutor, Advocate Vongani Khosa told the court that the man was in a position of trust as he is the father of the victim and chose to betray that trust.

“Furthermore, the father showed no remorse after committing the offence because he refused the child to be taken to the hospital and denied committing the offences even after being found guilty.

“Moreover, Khoza asked the court to take into account the seriousness of the offence when imposing the sentence.”

He asked the court to impose life imprisonment.

ALSO READ: ‘South Africans have been abandoned by government’ – reactions to crime stats

When handing down the sentence, Judge Papi Masopa said South Africa is facing a crisis in respect of rape, particularly of young children and this crime has brought about a sense of shock and disbelief in the community.

“Therefore, the judge agreed with the state and found no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi applauded the work of the investigating officer Sergeant John Nkosana of Pretoria Central FCS (the family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit) and the prosecutor that led to the conviction and sentencing of the father, who committed “a gruesome act towards his child”.

He assured the public the NPA takes matters committed against the most vulnerable seriously.