Rape victims’ accounts to influence sentencing

 

Two Alexandra men dubbed the Balaclava Rapists, who have been found guilty of multiple rapes will appear in the South Gauteng High Court for a pre-sentencing hearing from 17 to 21 July.

Sija Mabitsela and Josias Mukansi faced 76 charges including rape, compelled rape, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and robbery. The crimes were committed over a period of almost a decade in which they terrorised the Alex community. Their victims included 11 girls under 18 years of age.

The court heard that the men concealed their identities with balaclavas and towels when committing the crimes in cemeteries, local parks, a sports ground and other isolated places in the township. They waylaid their victims, mainly in pairs and, first compelled them to have sex regardless of their relationship. Afterwards, the two raped them at gun or knife point.

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The victims were also robbed of personal belongings like cellphones and money. The accused were linked to the crimes through DNA, police identity parades and from a victim’s cellphone found on one of them.

At one point, one of the men was said to have attended his daughter’s counselling at the Kidz Clinic, a unit of the non-profit organisation Women and Men against Child Abuse, after she had been abused.

Miranda Friedmann, director of the NPO which provided therapy to some of the victims said they were helping to compile victim impact statements to assist the court in determining the severity of the sentences. “The statements will help the victims to inform the court on how the rapes affected them, information that would otherwise have not been known to the court,” Friedmann said.

“The sentence must reflect the gravity of the crime and society’s outrage after the raping of girls and women. We hope the statements at the pre-sentencing [hearing] will highlight not only the trauma and suffering of the victims at the time of their rape ordeal, but also for the long-term into their adulthood.”

Details: Miranda Friedmann 083 250 6821; Vincentia Dlamini 082 896 9840 Ngaa Murombedzi 062 634 7783.

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