South Africa 8.10.2014 09:46 am

I’m sorry, says serial rapist

Mpho Rakgwale speaks to his attorney at the South Gauteng High Court, Palm Ridge, 7 October 2014.  The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to 61 charges including rape, kidnapping, and robbery. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Mpho Rakgwale speaks to his attorney at the South Gauteng High Court, Palm Ridge, 7 October 2014. The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to 61 charges including rape, kidnapping, and robbery. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The sentencing of convicted serial rapist Mpho Rakgwale is underway at the South Gauteng High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Rakgwale, 22, was arrested in December 2012 on what became a total of 178 charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition in and around Dobsonville, Soweto.

His victims, all girls or young women, ranged in age from 13 to 21.

The first rape occurred on July 13, 2010, when he, 17 years old at the time, raped a 16-year-old girl, police said.

Reports fitting Rakgwale’s pattern of luring or forcing young girls to isolated locations before raping and robbing them continued for the remainder of the year.

His trail ran dry in 2011, police said, as Rakgwale kept a low profile but the pattern re-emerged in 2012, when police eventually caught the then 20-year-old.

Dobsonville police spokesman Constable Mzakhe Xazi said at least one of the incidents occurred at the Dobsonville cemetery, where the victim was raped “on the tombstones”.

According to the indictment, some victims were raped and robbed of small amounts of cash or of the meager groceries they had just purchased for their households.

According to a summary provided by prosecutor Shubnum Singh, Rakgwale had pleaded guilty to more than 60 of the charges.

These included 17 of kidnapping, 21 of rape, six each of possession of a firearm and ammunition and 11 relating to robbery.

At the start of Tuesday’s sentencing, Rakgwale personally apologised to the victims and their families.

“I apologise to the victims, their families, the community, and the mother of my child for what I have done,” Rakgwale, dressed in a floral collared shirt, poker dot pull over and a bow tie, told the court.

He had also instructed his advocate Sindisa Hlazo to apologise to each of the five victims present in court on Tuesday, after they had each read out their victim impact reports.

Only one accepted his apology. The rest refused.

“I won’t forgive him. He made me feel worthless, dirty and cheap. I hate him with everything I have, I hope that the Lord will punish him,” said one of the victims, who was 17 at the time she was raped.

“My first sexual experience was in a dirty toilet. I will never forget that. You are an evil person,” said another woman, 20 at the time of her rape, who returned to Zimbabwe, her home country, to seek refuge in her family shortly after the ordeal.

The sentencing continues.

 

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