South Africa 19.6.2015 10:00 am

Mom, son may face incest rap

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

There are serious implications for a 55-year-old mother and her mentally disabled 23-year-old son who has allegedly repeatedly raped her, making her pregnant.

Sarah Lekhobo told Mpumalanga News her son began raping her three years ago after her husband died, but that she could not allow him to be arrested as he was the only family she had.

According to the Family Law Clinic, Lekhobo could be charged with incest in the first degree of consanguinity, and her son ordered to reside in a mental facility.

People have a legal duty to report incest, according to candidate attorney Helloise Smit. Incest is a criminal offence punishable by law. “If it was a child, then persons have a legal duty to report it, if a person has knowledge of it and does not report it, it is a criminal offence.

“The society can put pressure on the public prosecutor if he does not prosecute (in this case).”

The son could also be charged for rape but an investigation would be done first to establish his mental capacity, according to Smit. “The one who raises the defence of mental disability bears the onus of proof.”

The family law clinic has seen a number of such cases through the years, added Smit, and while incest could not be prevented as “people can do in their houses”, “as it comes to light the law and the courts will deal with it”.

Asked how she could allow this to happen, Lekhobo said she had back pains and could not fight for herself.

According to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences And Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007, people who have a blood or adoptive relationship may not lawfully marry or engage in sexual acts with each other.

 

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