Victims of serial rapist Sello Abram Mapunya cheered in court when he was given one of South Africa’s longest-ever sentences, following a reign of terror that lasted more than four years.
Some cried and hugged each other in Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Thursday when Judge Papi Mosopa handed down the 1,088-year term.
Mapunya, 33, was given five life terms as well as 988 years imprisonment for the rape and robbery of 56 women between December 2014 and March 2019, when he was arrested.
He was convicted of 41 rapes, 40 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and 40 counts of housebreaking. The sentences will not be served concurrently.
He committed the crimes while he lived with his girlfriend, 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in Pretoria.
“Society has to be able to rely on this court to ensure that this evil is now removed. Your lawlessness ends now,” Pretoria high court judge Papi Mosopa told Sello Abram Mapunya on Thursday. https://t.co/fXw7j01qM8
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) May 27, 2021
The crime spree in the Pretoria suburbs of Silverton, Nellmapius, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and Olievenhoutbosch began in December 2014.
Police caught up with Mapunya in March 2019 after tracing a cellphone, which he had robbed from one of his victims, to his girlfriend. She then pointed Mapunya out to the police.
The court heard the disturbing details of his crimes, which involved his breaking into shacks and houses in the early hours of the morning, shining a torch in the face of his victims before raping them.
Armed with a gun, knife or screwdriver, and sometimes with an accomplice, some of the crimes were committed in front of others in the household, including husbands and children.
“You are not the type of person who is ready to live side by side with others in peace,” Judge Masopa told the court. “You are determined to infringe on the dignity of others by raping them in a barbaric manner.”
Among his victims was a 14-year-old girl. Now aged 19, she told reporters after the verdict: “I ask myself everyday why men have to rape. But I want to ask the men out there to protect us instead of hurting us.”
“Today, I just thank God and the justice system for bringing this man down, for sending him away to jail for the rest of his life,” she added.
Described by media as a neatly dressed man who wore spectacles, a packed court gallery cheered and clapped as he was led down to the holding cells after his sentence.
After the verdict, Pretoria Sergeant Catherine Tladi told reporters: “We just want to restore the trust in our society to say there is still justice.”
“Rape victims remain uncovered until justice is done. Only when justice is done are they then able to cover themselves. Today these survivors’ nakedness has been closed,” she added.
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