5 life terms for rapist

The Witness - - NEWS - SHARIKA REGCHAND • sharika.regchand@wit­ness.co.za

A “NO­MADIC se­rial child rapist” who “baited” un­sus­pect­ing boys with cellphones was yes­ter­day given five life terms.

Menzi Shandu (25) was also sen­tenced for statu­tory rape and sex­ual as­sault but all the sen­tences will run con­cur­rently with the life sen­tence.

Shandu com­mit­ted the of­fences be­tween June 2016 and Fe­bru­ary 2017 in France Town­ship, Ndaleni near Rich­mond and Illovo near Amanz­im­toti.

Pi­eter­mar­itzburg high court Act­ing Judge Anand Ma­haraj said that Shandu moved from “place to place” when peo­ple found out about what he had done.

The judge added that Shandu had vi­o­lated the chil­dren’s rights to pri­vacy and dig­nity. He lured and en­ticed them to sa­ti­ate his lust and de­sires, us­ing a cell­phone as bait. The judge added that Shandu made the boys feel safe and to trust him by lend­ing them his cellphones or tablet to play games. He in­vited them into his house and then raped and sex­u­ally as­saulted them.

“Chil­dren are al­ways vul­ner­a­ble. The younger they are the more vul­ner­a­ble they are … they are of­ten abused by peo­ple they know. You [Shandu] thought you could get away with it, that’s why you ran away,” he said.

The judge said he put their lives at risk by not pro­tect­ing him­self. He ac­cepted that the chil­dren never con­tracted any sex­ual dis­eases be­cause noth­ing to this ef­fect was placed be­fore him. The judge said that Shandu’s ac­tions were “hor­ri­fy­ing, cruel and selfish”. “These types of of­fences is no doubt hu­mil­i­at­ing and de­grad­ing,” he said.

Judge Ma­haraj said that ev­ery child has the right to grow up in a crime-free en­vi­ron­ment, but this can’t hap­pen be­cause of peo­ple like Shandu.

“It is be­yond com­pre­hen­sion that you [Shandu] would even seek out an eight-year-old child to rape,” he said.

State ad­vo­cate Frank van Heer­den handed many vic­tim im­pact state­ments to the court, made by the boys and their fam­ily mem­bers.

Most of the boys said that their per­for­mance at school was suf­fer­ing as a re­sult of the abuse.

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