A 31-year-old taxi driver has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Madadeni Regional Court for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced the verdict in a statement, revealing that the heinous crime took place in the Osizweni area in April 2021.
According to NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the victim, who was pregnant at the time, was on her way home from her boyfriend’s house when she boarded the taxi driven by the accused. Her boyfriend had entrusted the driver to take her home safely. However, on the way, the driver took her to a secluded spot and raped her.
Ramkisson-Kara said, “The taxi driver then gave the shocked girl water to wash so that there would be no traces of his DNA.” The victim immediately reported the incident to her boyfriend, who informed some community members, leading to the man’s arrest.
The 14-year-old victim received necessary psycho-social services, counselling, and support at the Madadeni Thuthuzela Care Centre. However, the teenager subsequently suffered a miscarriage.
In court, the man denied the allegations, claiming that the girl had gotten off his taxi and taken another. Nevertheless, Regional Court Prosecutor Simphiwe Scelo Hlela was able to prove the state’s case by leading the evidence of the complainant, the first report (her boyfriend), and the doctor who had examined her.
“The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the successful finalisation of this matter, as it affirms our commitment to curbing the scourge of gender-based violence. We commend the work done by the Prosecution and SAPS,” said Ramkisson-Kara.
The verdict has been met with mixed reactions, with some expressing relief that justice has been served, while others are calling for stricter penalties for gender-based violence perpetrators.
This case highlights the urgent need to address gender-based violence in South Africa and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes.
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