The 38-year-old man, who was one half of the pair dubbed the “Alexandra balaclava serial rapists” was found guilty on more than 50 counts including rape and kidnapping by the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday.
Many victims — the youngest only 13 — were accosted and attacked in cemeteries and at a filling station in Tsutsumani, Alexandra, North of Johannesburg.
On Thursday, the South Gauteng High Court found Sija Mabitsela, charged with 53 counts of rape, guilty. On Wednesday, he had admitted in court to committing the crimes.
“The accused [Mabitsela] is charged with … 53 charges that flow through about 24 incidents. He has decided to plead guilty to all the charges against him,” Judge Carla van Veenendal said before handing down her guilty verdict.
On Wednesday, Mabitsela pleaded guilty to the 53 charges against him which included rape, compelling rape, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault and robbery. He also admitted that he knew that his actions were against the law.
Mabitsela’s oldest victim was a 38-year-old woman.
On Thursday, Van Veenendal asked the accused to confirm that he agreed with the incriminating statement in which he admitted guilt for the various crimes.
Through the interpreter, Mabitsela confirmed the admissions and terms of his plea agreement.
From 2007, Mabitsela — a local sangoma — operated alone. Seven years later, in 2014, the sangoma was joined by an accomplice, who was a parolee.
The court heard that the pair used a gunshot signal when they spotted people they could pounce on. The pair, with their faces hidden behind balaclavas, attacked couples at isolated spots and forced them to be intimate while they watched.
Afterwards the accused and his accomplice would rape the women. They would also rob their victims of any valuables.
Their reign of terror lasted about year before they were arrested.
The matter was postponed to March 30, for an update on victim impact reports.
Mabitsela’s accomplice will return to court on March 24, for pre-sentencing proceedings.
– African News Agency