A Mpumalanga church pastor who raped a 15-year-old congregant twice in 2020 has been convicted and sentenced to two life sentences in the Ermelo regional court.
The pastor, 51, and the survivor, according to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa, resided in the same neighbourhood. The rapes took place between July and September 2020.
The pastor disputed the charges, but prosecutor Rothman Chan, who led the testimony of the survivor and her brother, who discovered his sister naked on one of the occasions, said a medical report supported it.
In order to increase the sentence, the state submitted a victim impact statement written by the victim’s mother and facilitated by court preparation officer Faith Masango.
In her statement, she said, “She felt angry and disappointed because the family trusted the accused. He was their spiritual leader and a father figure to children in the church who was supposed to protect children, not use their vulnerability to his advantage.”
According to Nyuswa, magistrate Eben Jonker found no compelling and significant reason to deviate from the stipulated minimum punishment and sentenced each count to life imprisonment.
The pastor’s name was added to the national register of sexual offenders by the court. Nkebe Kanyane, the head of public prosecutions in Mpumalanga, praised the conviction and sentencing.
“Sentences of this nature are indicative of our commitment to the fight against gender-based violence,” Kanyane said