Serial rapist sentenced in Grahamstown

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Judge Thamie Beshe handed down sentence to South Africa’s worst serial rapist, Lonwabo Solontsi after he had been found guilty on 39 counts of rape, seven counts of robbery, 14 counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of housebreaking with intent to rape and three counts of housebreaking with intent to rape and robbery.

Reporting on the sentencing, police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said the offences had taken place between November 2010 and July 2015. Solontsi had two previous convictions for rape and the cases spanned over three provinces – Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the North West Province. His victims were exclusively female, from age 11 to age 46.

The investigator had made an application for the cases to be centralised, which was approved.

In sentencing Judge Thamie Beshe noted the value of the hard work and commitment of the investigators, as well as the coordination of the DNA samples, Govender reported.

The Judge said she would have imposed 12 life sentences and a total of 706 years imprisonment; however, in handing down her judgment, she said, “The accused is declared a dangerous criminal. He is sentenced to undergo imprisonment for an indefinite period. It is ordered that he be brought before a court at the expiration of twenty five (25)years for consideration of his sentence in terms of Section 286 (B)(2).”

The accused’s leave to appeal was dismissed.

Investigating officer Sergeant Sizwe Gaika said afterwards, “It was a very challenging case. I had the assistance of Advocate [Nickie] Turner every step of the way. I’m very happy with the outcome as all my hard work paid off.”

Commenting on the sentencing, Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga said today, “Congratulations to the team of detectives from the Provincial Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offence Unit who worked long hours and made immeasurable sacrifices to ensure the successful conviction and sentencing of 29-year-old serial rapist Lonwabo Solontsi. You have ensured that this predator will not be back on the streets preying on innocent victims.”

Serial rapist Lonwabo Solontsi gestures at the press following his sentencing in the High Court in Grahamstown on 23 March 2018. Photo supplied

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