A 40-year-old man was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment by the Bloemfontein Regional Court for raping a 4-year-old girl in September last year.
The spokesperson of the national prosecuting authority (NPA) in the Free State Phaladi Shuping said the 40-year-old man, Thabo William Mokoale, had pleaded guilty to the rape.
Shuping said Magistrate Matshediso Khuduga sentenced Mokoale to life imprisonment for raping the complainant on 26 September 2020.
“The complainant was playing in the street with other children when Mokoale sent her to the shop. Mokoale, who is a neighbour to the complainant, locked the complainant in his bedroom on her return from the shop with the items she was sent to buy and raped her.
“The family of the complainant and community members searched for her throughout the night not aware that Mokoale has locked her into his bedroom. Mokoale only allowed the complainant to go home the following day, in the morning. The complainant told her parents what happened and the matter was reported to the police. Mokoale was arrested on 27 September 2020,” Shuping said.
Shuping further said that in aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Patrick Koloane submitted a victim impact statement in which the mother of the complainant said that the complainant no longer plays with other children and she has become violent because the teachers have reported to her that she is fighting other learners at school.
Koloane further said that even though Mokoale pleaded guilty and saved the complainant from secondary traumatisation of having to testify in court, the offence he pleaded guilty to is serious and therefore, the court should impose a sentence as per the minimum prescribed sentence law because he failed to adduce any substantial and compelling circumstances for imposition of a lesser sentence, Shuping said.
“The accused was interested in only one thing, which is to satisfy his own desire at the expense of a 4-year-old child who knew nothing about sexual encounter. Our society expects the court to impose harsh punishment on perpetrators of such heinous crimes”, Koloane said.
Shuping said Magistrate Khuduga sentenced Mokoale to life imprisonment and ordered that his name should be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders. She further declared him unfit to possess a firearm.
“The NPA welcomes the sentence,” Shuping said.