The Nelspruit regional court sentenced a 36-year-old step father for raping and impregnating his two step-daughters, 11, and 13 to an effective 23 years in prison.
The convict who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims was arrested in 2014 after the 11-year-old victim told her aunt that she was pregnant.
She also divulged that her step father was the one who made her pregnant and fathered her sister’s one year-old baby.
According to the Mpumalanga police the rapes happened in 2013 after the 41-year-old mother of the victims allegedly gave consent to the stepfather who is originally from Zimbabwe, to sleep with her children as she was tired of having sex and was old.
The incident happened at Clau-Clau village in the north-east of Mbombela city at the children’s home.
After falling pregnant the 11 year old girl’s aunt accompanied her to terminate the pregnancy and reported the matter to the police who did the DNA tests which positively confirmed that the stepfather was both the foetus and the one-year-old baby were indeed of the stepfather.
Unfortunately the 11-year-old committed suicide early in 2018 before testifying in court.
“The incident came to light after the 11-year-old fell pregnant and decided to alert her aunt who took her to the police and was taken to the hospital where an abortion was performed.
“After detailing that her stepfather made her pregnant the police arrested the step father and a DNA test was also done to find out if her sister’s one-year-old baby was indeed the stepfather’s and the results came positive.
“He was not granted bail and remained in custody for the duration of the trial,” said cluster spokeswoman of the White River police captain Jabu Ndubane.
The stepfather told the court that he got consent from the mother.
“What we got from both the victims and the stepfather is that the mother consented for the ordeal to take place saying she was old and tired of having sex with the man, so he must not leave the house but sleep with her children.
“After statements were taken, we arrested the mother too but she was cleared in court. In 2018 early the 11-year-old committed suicide inside her home and she could not live to see justice being served,” said Ndubane.
The investigating officer of the case, sergeant Portia Sanderson told Ziwaphi-The New Era that she encountered difficulties when the mother threatened the victims from testifying.
“These are cases that happen all the time and now what we get the most are cases of children being abused by family members and some knowingly keep quiet and not report.
“Some threaten to harm the victims if they testify against family members and gang up against the victims mostly children and that is what we had to go against during this trial which even led to the victim committing suicide.
“It is very painful as a mother myself to deal with these cases but as you know I’m always the voice of the victim and they believe in us to deal with this and bring justice that’s what keeps me pushing harder,” said Sanderson.
Ndubane said the grandfather of the children who stood and protected them during the trial was found to have been poisoned too.
“As we say some cases from families are hard, here we found out that the grandfather died and it seem it was from poisoning and we have since opened a case on that to find out what really happened. There’s suspicion that since he was standing by the victims and encouraging them to testify he might have been poisoned,” said Ndubane.