Rapists’ families berate the victims
THE VICTIMS of two serial rapists sentenced to six life terms each came face to face with the men’s families in the high court in Pretoria.
Their relief that the men would be going to jail for a very long time was shortlived as the families of Samuel Ngobeni, 42, and Jeffrey Tsoku, 40, hurled insults at them.
Shortly after Acting Judge Sam Makuma had sealed the pair’s fate, their angry family members started shouting at the victims, claiming they had “enticed” the men into sex, and their actions (in laying charges) had hurt them.
The astounded victims reacted angrily, a war of words erupted and the two sides could have come to blows had bystanders not intervened.
“We did nothing wrong. How can they now expect us to take the blame,” said one of the victims. Mostly waitresses and workers at late-night food outlets north of Pretoria, the women were preyed on as they sought lifts home after work.
Ngobeni and Tsoku ran a reign of terror for three years – between 2013 and 2016 – in the areas around the Kolonnade and Wonderpark shopping centres, and the Brits area.
The two, who were security guards, offered women lifts in Ngobeni’s car, but along the way they would head for a deserted spot where they would tie up the women and threaten them with a gun, knife or pepper spray before one of the men or both would rape them, steal from them, and leave them in the bushes to find their own way home.
Nearly all the victims presented the court with powerful statements reflecting their anguish and the emotional pain they continue to suffer.
“It’s three years later and my eyes still fill with tears when I think back about how I was raped. No one will understand what it really feels like to be so humiliated and reduced to a piece of trash. It does something to you that you cannot describe,” one woman told the court.
Another said she would have preferred to have been killed, so much that she battled with life after her ordeal.
The pair pleaded guilty and were convicted on 42 counts of rape and 33 charges of robbery between them. They were linked via DNA evidence to the rapes, and their victims also positively identified them.
Both men testified that they were very sorry for what they had done. They claimed they did not know why they did it, with Ngobeni saying “the devil” made him do it. He also said he was relieved that he was arrested before he killed anyone, as he didn’t want “blood on his hands”.
Pair were linked to their crimes by DNA evidence
Apart from facing six life terms, Tsoku was sentenced to 480 years’ imprisonment and Ngobeni to a further 288 years.
Judge Makuma rejected the pair’s pleas for forgiveness from their victims and said they had no real remorse, as they only felt sorry for themselves.
“You saw the opportunity to hunt for vulnerable women late at night and offer them a lift… You preyed on these women, who only wanted to get home to their families.”
The judge said it was very sad, in South Africa, that of every three women, one had been raped in her life.
“There is no sentence that will help the victims regain what they lost on those terrible nights, but the sentences imposed may to some extent bring closure,” the judge said.