Se­rial rapist’s jail term is re­duced to 50 years

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

THE so-called Methuse­lah sen­tences once again came un­der the spotlight in the high court in Pre­to­ria when three judges re­duced the 78-year ef­fec­tive sen­tence of Mamelodi se­rial rapist Si­mon Sit­hole to 50 years.

The judges said while Sit­hole de­served each sen­tence he had re­ceived on the 45 charges he was con­victed on, it was sim­ply not pos­si­ble for him to serve these terms.

The 26-year-old would have been an old man near­ing his 80s be­fore he had any prospects of leav­ing jail if he was granted pa­role. In re­duc­ing his sen­tence to 50 years, he could at the ear­li­est be con­sid­ered for pa­role af­ter serv­ing 25 years.

He ear­lier pleaded guilty to ter­ror­is­ing the res­i­dents of Mamelodi for five years.

He man­aged to get away with it for all those years while po­lice searched for him, but a cell­phone he stole dur­ing one of his last rob­beries led to his ar­rest.

Sit­hole’s victims in­cluded an 11-year-old girl, who he raped. The judge who sen­tenced him elected not to pun­ish him to the manda­tory life sen­tence for this; it would have meant that all the other sen­tences he re­ceived would have run con­cur­rently with the life sen­tence.

The ef­fect of this was that, in terms of the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Act, he could have been con­sid­ered for pa­role only af­ter serv­ing 25 years in jail.

The sen­tenc­ing judge rea­soned that sen­tenc­ing him to a spe­cific term in jail would mean that he would serve longer, as he would have had to serve half of the jail time be­fore he was con­sid­ered for pa­role.

Sit­hole all in all re­ceived a to­tal of 569 years’ im­pris­on­ment, of which the court said he had to serve 78 years.

On ap­peal, his ad­vo­cate told the court this was a shock­ing sen­tence as it was im­pos­si­ble to serve the jail term.

The Sit­hole camp at first asked the full bench of three judges to rather change his sen­tence on the rape of the child to one of life, as it would mean only 25 years be­fore he could be con­sid­ered for pa­role.

But they changed their minds later and told the court they no longer called for a life sen­tence, as, in terms of the law, only the min­is­ter of jus­tice could grant pa­role in the case of life sen­tences, and they did not want to take their chances.

Sit­hole ad­mit­ted his crimes.

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