South Africa, Pretoria – While the country has embarked on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign on the 25th of November, the court has sentenced a serial rapist to three life terms.
The 36-year-old rapist, Percy Matimba Chauke, from Tshepisong in Kagiso near Krugersdorp, also blackmailed his victims by threatening to share pictures of their private parts online.
In addition to the life terms, he also received 134 years’ imprisonment from the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg.
Chauke was charged with nine counts of rape, six counts of robbery, and one charge of theft. He targeted unemployed women between May 2016 and July 2017, luring them to remote areas with the false pretence of finding them employment.
The court heard evidence that he convinced them that he was taking them to a prospective employer’s home. He then pointed out a place near a thoroughfare that passed through the open veld. When in the veld, he would threaten them with violence, using either a firearm or knife.
The terrified victims were then raped and robbed of their money and belongings.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said Chauke would then leave his victims in the veld, from where they managed to make their way to a road for help.
The court heard that in some instances, Chauke would talk to women waiting for taxis at the side of the road in and around Krugersdorp.
He would thereafter threaten them with a firearm or a knife, lead them to secluded areas or bushes, and rape and rob them of their belongings.
In what State prosecutor advocate Pakanyiswa Marasela described as “despicable”, Chauke in three instances also took pictures of their private parts after raping them and threatened to post the pictures on social media should they report him to the police.
Marasela led evidence of 10 witnesses and called the victims to testify in aggravation of sentence about the impact the crimes had on their lives.
She asked the court not to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment as
there were no substantial and compelling circumstances to warrant a lesser sentence.
Marasela further argued that the incidents occurred over a protracted period, and the offences were not opportunistic but rather were deliberate.
She also said that Chauke took no responsibility for the consequences of his crimes and deserved to be permanently removed from society.
The court found Chauke’s conduct to be inhumane and he had stripped the women of their dignity by subjecting them to rape.
In sentencing him, the judge remarked that Chauke had no conscience at all.
Chauke had tried everything in his power to delay the trial and to delay the process of closure for the victims, Mjonondwana said.
While Chauke is one of the latest rapists to realise that the courts will not deal lightly with violence meted out towards women and children, a number of judges have, over the years, strongly voiced their dismay at these types of crimes.
Judge Cassim Sardiwalla, in sentencing a wife-killer to 25 years in jail two years ago, said femicide (the killing of a woman by her partner) had become so rife in South Africa that the country and the government must strategise ways to combat it.
He remarked at the time that
since the start of January 2018, 18 cases of femicide were enrolled in Pretoria alone.
This excludes cases relating to other forms of violence against women, including physical and emotional abuse and rape.
“This insanity must stop,” the judge said.