It’s good rid­dance to se­rial rapist

Judge puts man away for five life terms plus 210 years

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - ZELDA VENTER

zelda.venter@inl.co.za

ASPONTANEOUS clap­ping of hands broke out in the pub­lic gallery af­ter a judge sen­tenced a se­rial rapist and killer to five life terms as well an ad­di­tional to­tal of more than 210 years be­hind bars.

Charles Mthethwa, 35, a Zim­bab­wean na­tional, is un­likely to ever walk the streets again, as he is al­ready serv­ing six life terms for a se­ries of other rapes and an­other mur­der he com­mit­ted.

He will serve his to­tal of 11 life terms at the Kgosi Mam­puru II Prison in Pretoria.

The 10 vic­tims in his lat­est rape spree packed the Gaut­eng High Court, Pretoria, yes­ter­day, to hear his sen­tence.

While Judge Papi Mosopa was deal­ing with the im­pact which the rapes had on the vic­tims – one who was a 14-year-old – sev­eral of the vic­tims cried bit­terly and had to be con­soled by fam­ily mem­bers.

They said af­ter­wards they were happy the man would never walk the streets again.

Mthethwa’s crime ca­reer started in 2013 when he raped the wife of a po­lice of­fi­cer in Tho­hoyan­dou. He was ar­rested at the time, but man­aged to evade the po­lice. He con­tin­ued with his rape and rob­bery spree up to July 2015, when he was ar­rested by the com­mu­nity in Ivory Park fol­low­ing one of the rapes.

The vic­tim was at the time busy making a state­ment to the po­lice at the ivory Park po­lice sta­tion, when mem­bers of the com­mu­nity ar­rived there with Mthethwa. The vic­tim recog­nised him and he was ar­rested.

His DNA was linked to an ar­ray of other rapes, rob­beries, kid­nap­pings and two mur­ders.

Mthethwa was last year sen­tenced in the High Court in Tho­hoyan­dou for sev­eral of the crimes, when he re­ceived six life terms.

He sub­se­quently ap­peared in the Gaut­eng High Court, Pretoria, on the re­main­ing 24 charges against him, as these crimes were com­mit­ted in and around the city.

Mthethwa pleaded guilty to all charges. Apart from sim­ply ad­mit­ting he did act un­law­fully and was sorry for what he had done, he hardly spoke. He re­fused to take the stand to ex­plain why he had con­ducted a reign of ter­ror for three years. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing his sen­tence, he said in a quiet voice he un­der­stood the sen­tence, be­fore walk­ing down to the hold­ing cells un­der the watch­ful eyes of prison guards.

Dur­ing some of the rapes he was as­sisted by ac­com­plices, but Mthethwa re­mained tight-lipped as to who they were.

His vic­tims gasped in shock when Judge Mosopa re­marked dur­ing sen­tenc­ing that these men were still prowl­ing the streets.

One of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers in the cases, War­rant Of­fi­cer Hen­drik Visser, vowed that they wouldn’t give up un­til they also had those peo­ple be­hind bars.

The judge de­scribed Mthethwa’s con­duct as “bar­baric” and said he was def­i­nitely not a can­di­date for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

He had prowled on un­sus­pect­ing women and his modus operandi was usu­ally the same. He suf­fered from HIV/Aids and never used a con­dom dur­ing the rapes.

He dragged his vic­tims into dark bushes, where he ei­ther threat­ened them with a knife or throt­tled them, un­til they handed over their money. He then raped them and left them in the bushes.

In one case he went too far and stran­gled the mother of a 3-year-old, Miriam Modika, to death.

She was on her way to work, when she was over­pow­ered on the out­skirts of Cen­tu­rion. Af­ter he had stran­gled her to death, he left her body in the bushes, where it was later dis­cov­ered.

Her mother, Lucy Modika, told the Pretoria News she had for­given Mthethwa, as God would deal with him one day.

The court said he had no re­spect for his vic­tims. In one case a woman who had ex­pe­ri­enced fam­ily prob­lems, was pray­ing at a “sa­cred place” when Mthethwa sud­denly ap­peared next to her. He also went down on his knees and asked her to pray for him too.

While the vic­tim was pray­ing with closed eyes, he pounced on her, throt­tled her and raped her.

Judge Mosopa said rape in the coun­try was on the in­crease.

“Women and chil­dren can­not walk the streets with­out fear of vi­o­lence…It ap­pears that the gov­ern­ment is fight­ing a los­ing bat­tle.”

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