August Khumalo, 37, from Mataffin near Mbombela, was sentenced in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday, a Sapa correspondent reported.
He was arrested on October 19, 2012, after being accused of raping two women, aged 27 and 29, at knifepoint after he lured them with promises of jobs.
Prosecutor Magda Marais asked that the accused be made to complete his previous sentence of 12 years, as it would lapse on September 17, 2016.
“He has two previous convictions, one of theft in 2003 where he was fined R600 or three months imprisonment, and a second for rape and robbery convicted on March 18, 2005, during which he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment,” Marais said.
Khumalo was a danger to society and should be declared unfit to possess a firearm, she said.
Passing sentence, Magistrate Willie Wilkins said the fact that Khumalo had a previous conviction on the same charge was an aggravating factor.
Wilkins said rape in South Africa had reached epidemic proportions and despite government programmes was still increasing.
“Women are entitled to rights to enjoy peace and quality life at their homes, go to work, or do their shopping without any fear of being attacked or raped,” he said.
If Khumalo had not pleaded guilty he would have been sentenced to life imprisonment, as he had used a knife during the crimes.
Khumalo would have to serve the remaining years of the earlier rape sentence before serving his new sentence of 17 years.
He also declared Khumalo unfit to possess a firearm.