The Phokeng Magistrates’ Court has delivered a significant ruling, sentencing Guilhermo Jose Thomas Uchaio, a 54-year-old Mozambican national, to life imprisonment for the rape of a 12-year-old girl. The incident took place on 20 November 2022 at Freedom Park, near Tlhabane, where the accused was a tenant at the victim’s home.
The prosecution presented evidence that on the day of the incident, a former tenant visited the girl’s mother, expressing concerns about the child’s safety after having a prophecy. The mother directed the former tenant to the accused’s shack, as the victim had been seen assisting him with chores earlier.
Upon reaching the shack, the former tenant noticed no response and peered through the window, only to witness the accused jumping out of bed naked. She immediately returned to the mother to report that the child was not inside the shack.
The mother, however, insisted that the child was in the accused’s dwelling. They both returned and found the girl standing outside the door. The victim bravely disclosed that she had been raped by the accused.
Recognizing the severity of the situation, they promptly took her to a doctor, who confirmed the violation. The matter was then reported to the police, leading to the arrest of the accused. Subsequently, the court denied him bail.
In the aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Obed Molope emphasized the profound psychological harm inflicted upon the young victim. Molope urged the court to adhere to the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment. Magistrate Segakweng Moeng agreed with the state’s argument, highlighting that the accused had abused his position of trust, knowing that the victim relied on him.
Dr Rachel Makhari, the Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, commended the prosecutor, the investigating officer from the SAPS, and all other individuals involved in ensuring the perpetrator was held accountable for his heinous actions.