Rapist’s 300-year prison sen­tence: women see jus­tice done

Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - SNE MASUKU Sello Novem­ber

SEVEN years is a long time to wait for jus­tice.

It was there­fore a bit­ter-sweet mo­ment for 13 women when they saw the man who had raped them be­ing sen­tenced to a 300-year jail term this week.

The 13 women were all choked be­fore be­ing raped while un­con­scious. A 14th died while be­ing choked and raped.

Just when they were los­ing hope of re­ceiv­ing jus­tice, se­rial rapist Sello Novem­ber, 29, was fi­nally sen­tenced in the Dur­ban High Court on Wed­nes­day.

Novem­ber, who faces three other rape charges in Jo­han­nes­burg, was ar­rested in 2017 for theft. A DNA sam­ple taken from him then linked him to the DNA sam­ples taken from the 14 women whom po­lice had al­ready es­tab­lished had been raped by the same man.

One of the women, Nom­pumelelo Md­lalose, 38, of KwaMashu, was on her way to work at 5am on April 25, 2013 when Novem­ber stran­gled her and then raped her.

Beauty Zwane, Md­lalose’s mother, said she was rais­ing Md­lalose’s 8-yearold daugh­ter. She cried out­side court af­ter Novem­ber was sen­tenced, de­scrib­ing the court’s rul­ing as“bit­ter-sweet”.

“We lived in a rented room in KwaMashu, which we shared with six other ten­ants. My daugh­ter was my only hope of get­ting out of that sit­u­a­tion. Our dream was to have our own house and have dig­nity, but we were robbed of all of those dreams,” she said.

Novem­ber pleaded guilty to rap­ing 14 women, in­clud­ing two mi­nors, in the KwaMashu area, north of Dur­ban, be­tween 2012 and 2013.

He also pleaded guilty to Md­lalose’s mur­der and 13 counts of armed rob­bery.

He was sen­tenced to terms of life im­pris­on­ment for Md­lalose’s mur­der and the rape of the mi­nors. He was sen­tenced to a fur­ther 10-year term for each rape of the 11 adult women and 15 years each for the 13 counts of rob­bery.

In his guilty plea, Novem­ber ad­mit­ted chok­ing his vic­tims, threat­en­ing them with a knife or a screw­driver and rap­ing them while they were un­con­scious.

Vic­tims laid charges of rape at the KwaMashu po­lice sta­tion, but no one was ar­rested un­til sergeants Mn­deni Mzila and Vusi Shinga of the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence and Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences (FCS), sta­tioned at Ntuzuma po­lice sta­tion, in­ves­ti­gated the cases.

They dis­cov­ered that most of the rapes in the area were the work of one man.

Their in­ves­ti­ga­tions later es­tab­lished the DNA con­nec­tion that linked Novem­ber to the 14 un­solved cases.

At­tor­ney Ti­a­graj Pil­lay pleaded with the court to con­sider Novem­ber’s age and his per­sonal cir­cum­stances in sen­tenc­ing him. He said Novem­ber was an or­phan, had dropped out of school af­ter his par­ents’ death in 2011 and got in­volved with bad friends who in­tro­duced him to drugs and al­co­hol.

Pil­lay said this was around the time Novem­ber had started com­mit­ting the rapes. He had been be­tween 21 and 23 at the time.

He urged the court to also con­sider that he had taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions and pleaded guilty.

But State ad­vo­cate Kr­ishen Shah said Novem­ber’s per­sonal cir­cum­stances were not ex­cep­tional.

“Al­though he pleaded guilty and showed some re­morse, the prob­lem that the court has is that we still do not know why he com­mit­ted the rape of­fences, if his in­ten­tion was to rob the women,” he said.

Judge Jac­que­line Hen­driques agreed with Shah that al­though Novem­ber had taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions, no one knew why he raped the women be­cause he had said his in­ten­tion was to rob them of cash and their cell­phones.

The judge said Novem­ber had said he had stran­gled Md­lalose to pre­vent her from scream­ing.

“The crime of rape is se­ri­ous and preva­lent in South Africa. So­ci­ety is out­raged by these of­fences. The vic­tims were robbed of their dig­nity and their be­long­ings. The fre­quency of the of­fences shows that he tar­geted women who were alone. These were not spurof-the-mo­ment of­fences,” said Judge Hen­driques.

Some adult vic­tims said they had ter­mi­nated their re­la­tion­ships af­ter the rape in­ci­dents.

“I am still af­fected phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. My life will never be the same. I was be­gin­ning to lose hope of ever find­ing jus­tice. It con­soles me to know that he will be be­hind bars for a long time,” said one wo­man.

Mzila and Shinga have locked away a num­ber of se­rial rapists in Dur­ban.

A Septem­ber rag-out of sergeants Mn­deni Mzila and Vusi Shinga of the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence and Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences (FCS).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.