A full bench of the North Gauteng High Court has confirmed the life sentence of a 55-year-old Nigel man, who for years raped and assaulted his stepdaughter, sent her out to beg on the streets and impregnated her when she was 15.
The man appealed against his conviction on four charges of raping his stepdaughter, starting when she was 10, and ending when she fell pregnant with his child at the age of 15, and a charge of assault, as well as his life sentence.
His stepdaughter testified that she remembered him touching her indecently at the age of three and he later started regularly raping her at least twice a week, often while her mother and brother were asleep in the same room. She did not tell anyone about the rapes because she was afraid of her stepfather, who threatened that she would be chased away.
The family was dependent on her mother’s disability grant. She and her brother were forced to beg in the streets on the pretense that they were collecting money for a children’s home and her stepfather continuously swore at and degraded them.
When she finally had the courage to stand up to him and refused him sex after falling pregnant, he started assaulting her, pushing her around and throwing her against a couch. When she could no longer tolerate the circumstances, she finally phoned her aunt, who insisted on laying a complaint with the police.
Her stepfather admitted having sex with her on several occasions, but claimed she had initiated it. Judge John Murphy said there was most likely a conspiracy of silence and the young girl kept quiet due to insecurity, lack of care, love and warmth in her home and her fear that she would be left to her own devices in the streets.
The judges confirmed the man’s conviction, saying his version was rife with contradictions and it was clear he was evasive, manipulating and untruthful. Judge Murphy said it was clear that the victim had suffered emotionally and had to leave school because of her pregnancy. There was nothing to be said in favour of her stepfather, who showed no remorse, he added.