Cape Town – An Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Mount Fletcher regional court for raping a minor.
Lebohang Mphamela, aged 27, was convicted of raping the 13-year-old girl on January 16.
According to the provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Luxolo Tyali, the child was lured under false pretences with an invitation to an umgidi ceremony.
In Xhosa culture, umgidi is a celebration for a boy or boys (mkhwetha) coming back from the mountain after attending initiation school.
“On January 16, 2022, at the Mlumbe location, in the district of Mount Fletcher, the victim was alone at home, as her grandmother was attending a traditional ceremony (umgidi) in the same village,” Tyali said.
“Mphamela arrived and told the girl that her grandmother sent him to invite her to the same ceremony. She left with him as they were known to one another, but on the way, Mphamela convinced her to go to his home to fetch his jacket as it was getting late,” Tyali said.
The court heard that upon arrival at his home, Mphamela overpowered the child, threw her on his bed and raped her.
He threatened to kill her should she tell anyone what had happened.
But the victim reported the incident to her grandmother who in turn alerted police.
Mphamela was arrested but during the trial he pleaded not guilty.
State Prosecutor Advocate Bongeka Honono argued for the court not to deviate from the prescribed sentence and called for the court to send a clear message to rapists and would-be rapists that the justice system would not tolerate their evil actions against children and vulnerable people in society.
Presiding officer magistrate Msiswa Mjame found no substantive and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum jail term, and sentenced Mphamela to life imprisonment.
The director of public prosecutions in the Eastern Cape, Barry Madolo, welcomed the sentence and commended the prosecution and investigating teams.