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SEXUAL OFFENCES

SAPS officer sentenced to 10 years in prison for cell rape

SAPS officer sentenced to 10 years in prison for cell rape
Constable Lizalise Sentane was sentenced on Wednesday in Worcester Regional Court for raping raping a 34-year-old victim in the holding cells at the Laingsburg police station on 25 November 2016. (Photo: Supplied)

The Worcester Regional Court has sentenced a police constable convicted of raping a 34-year-old woman in the Laingsburg police station holding cells in 2016 to 10 years’ direct imprisonment.

Warning: This story contains multiple accounts of sexual offences, including crimes committed against children.  

On Wednesday, 1 November, the Worcester Regional Court sentenced Constable Lizalise Sentane to 10 years’ imprisonment following his conviction on 29 July 2023 on charges of rape. The court also declared him unfit to carry a firearm.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed that Sentane was sentenced to 10 years’ direct imprisonment.

Following his sentencing, Sentane filed an application for leave to appeal, which prosecutor Elton Willemse opposed. The accused remains in custody and the case has been held over until 6 November for the ruling on the application for leave to appeal.

According to Robbie Raburabu, national spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), the charge originated from an incident on 25 November 2016, when the 34-year-old victim was arrested for theft.

She was detained at the Laingsburg police station. While she was in detention, the constable entered her cell, grabbed her, and started kissing and undressing her. When the victim resisted, he took out a firearm, pointed it at her and proceeded to rape her in the police cell.

The victim opened a case of rape and Ipid launched an investigation into the allegations. According to Raburabu, recommendations were made by Ipid for the member to be disciplined, but SAPS acquitted him.

Five life sentences handed down in 48 hours

Sexual violence has been described as an epidemic in the country and in 48 hours, judges in five courts across the country delivered life sentences to suspects convicted of rape.

The life sentences handed down are listed as follows.

Western Cape

A 69-year-old man from Du Noon, Cape Town, received a life sentence on 31 October following his conviction for sexual grooming and repeated rapes of a minor over seven years.

The accused’s name cannot be released because his partner was the victim’s nanny, which could indirectly identify the victim and expose her to secondary victimisation.

During proceedings, the court heard from sexual offences prosecutor Ruwayda Badrudeen that the accused was not a first-time offender, as he had been convicted and sentenced to five years’ direct imprisonment wholly suspended for five years for a sexual assault committed in March 2016. He continued to commit rape, until his arrest for the current case in 2020.

Explaining the severity of the Du Noon incident, Badrudeen stated the rapes started when the victim was five years old and continued until she was 12.

“He would groom the child victim by giving her money for school, giving her food, buying her data, and allowing her to watch DStv. While she was watching television, he would abuse her sexually,” Badrudeen said.

Badrudeen added that a victim impact statement indicated that the victim suffered from a loss of self-confidence; feared the accused because he had a short temper, was popular and had money; and was concerned that community members would not believe her if she reported the rapes.

KwaZulu-Natal 

The Madadeni Regional Court sentenced a 24-year-old man to life imprisonment for the rape of a minor in May and June 2021, according to Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the NPA’s KZN spokesperson. At the time, the girl was 11 years old, and the male was friends with her elder brother.

“He would visit their home to either smoke or watch TV with her brother. The child slept on a mattress on the floor of the rondavel where they watched TV and he raped her when her brother was asleep,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

A victim impact statement indicates the incident traumatised the child and she refused to go outside or interact with others. The guardian had to give up her job to care for the child, who was continuously terrified.

In a second case heard at the same court, a 30-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for raping his girlfriend’s child in April 2022. The child was 10 years old at the time. He raped her on two occasions when her mother was away from the house, running errands.

According to a victim impact statement, the experience affected the child’s behaviour – she refused to engage with other children, performed poorly in school and was afraid to go out and preferred to stay at home.

In the province’s third case, the Nkandla Regional Court sentenced a 34-year-old man to life in prison for the rape of an eight-year-old child in the Nkandla area in December 2020.

The man was known to the child’s family, and they had faith in him. The child lived with her mother, grandmother and younger cousin. On the day of the incident, the victim was babysitting her cousin when the man came into the house and raped her. Another relative walked in on them and the man ran away.

Before the rape, the victim was described as a happy and carefree person; she was now forgetful, easily irritated and longed to be alone.

Mpumalanga

The Nelspruit Sexual Offences Court sentenced a 59-year-old man from Masoyi Trust to life imprisonment for raping a teenaged boy on 18 December 2017.

According to Monica Nyuswa, NPA Mpumalanga spokesperson, the victim’s mother sent the boy outside to dispose of water outside his paternal home at about 8.30pm on the day in question. Outside, the victim came across the accused, who told him his father was calling him and ordered him to follow him to his place.

“When they arrived, the accused opened the door and they both entered the house. When the victim realised that his father was not there and asked the accused about his father’s whereabouts, the accused did not answer instead he strangled the victim, put him on top of the bed and raped him.

“The victim asked to go to the restroom naked and he got an opportunity to flee the scene. Along the way, he met his parents and reported the rape ordeal to them,” Nyuswa said.

In a statement, the boy said the rape trauma had damaged him so much that he couldn’t walk properly for days, lost confidence and blamed himself for believing and following the accused. DM

Information on resources for survivors of rape and sexual violence can be found on the following sites: Sonke Gender Justice, Rape Crisis, Tears Foundation

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