Judge Moses Mavundla made it clear that the 27-year-old Mozambican, who for years waged a reign of terror in Mamelodi, must go to prison “for a very, very long time”.
He said Sithole had come from Mozambique seeking a better life in South Africa, but showed contempt for his adoptive country.
He deserved nothing else but a long term imprisonment, which would deter others of his kind.
Sithole, who had a girlfriend and a young child, had committed most of his crimes in the informal settlement in Mamelodi East where he lived and worked in a hair salon.
He pleaded guilty to the 45 charges against him, saying he was sorry for what he did.
The Judge said the gravity of Sithole’s offences lay in the nature of each offence and the fact that the crimes had been committed over a long period.
Sithole commenced with his crime spree in 2008, breaking into women’s shacks in the early hours of the morning, threatening them with weapons, tying them up and raping them.
He robbed his traumatised victims of their cellphones, cash, clothes and jewellery.
His reign of terror reached a crescendo in 2011, when he committed most of his crimes, and went on until March 2013 when he was finally caught after using one of his victims’ cellphone.
Sithole’s 21 victims include an 11-year-old child and three 16-year-old girls.
One of the victims was breastfeeding her baby when he accosted her with an axe and raped her but most of the women were asleep and only woke up when he was already next to them.
Sithole used a range of weapons, including a firearm, knife, axe, screwdriver and garden shears to threaten his victims.
He covered most of his victim’s faces while he raped them and only the 11-year-old girl was able to identify him at a police identity parade.
Judge Mavundla said it could have had fatal results if Sithole had used his weapons.
The Judge earlier expressed concern about the efficacy of a life sentence, which he said had absolutely no deterrent value and led to an escalation of a wave of these kinds of crimes.