Two North Gauteng High Court judges said if the man was sent to jail for the next 25 years, he would be over 80 years old at the time of his release and it could be justifiably questioned whether incarceration at such an age would serve any useful or practical purpose other than mere retribution.
They confirmed the man’s sentence of two years imprisonment on four charges of assaulting his wife and children, but ordered that it must run concurrently with his 15-year sentence, which was backdated to 2011.
A medical report stated that the man’s 14-year-old granddaughter had not sustained serious physical injuries as a result of the rape.
The young girl testified during the trial that her grandfather had sex with her when her grandmother was away from home and gave her money before the first rape. When she complained to her grandmother, she was told that it was nothing new as her grandfather had also tried to sleep with her (deceased) mother.
The other children in the house testified that the accused used to hit them with a sjambok if they fell asleep during family prayers in the evening.
The grandmother testified that she still loved and respected her husband, even though he had sometimes left them without money for food and assaulted the children and her as well, when she tried to protect them.
Judge Hans Fabricius said he agreed that rape was prevalent in the country, that the statistics were shocking and that vulnerable young girls needed to be protected.
However, he said he could not agree that a life sentence was not disproportionate, especially keeping in mind the accused’s age and the purposes of