June 19th, 2011
"Parents neglecting their children is a societal problems that becomes the police’s problem." Lt Gen Amon Mashigo (provincial police commissioner) addressed the media on Thursday at the provincial joint operations centre, expressing his concern over the high number of under age girls falling victim to rapists.
During May alone, eight rapists from Limpopo - whose victims were mostly under age girls - were sentenced to life terms in prison.
Provincial police commissioner Lt Gen Amon Mashigo, during a press briefing on Thursday at the police’s provincial joint operations centre, said this was a great concern.
Parents must raise the bar and look after their children, he said.
"Parents neglecting their children is a societal problem which becomes the police’s problem," he added. Between May and June this year, 96 sentences were handed down for crimes including rape, attempted rape, robbery, attempted murder, kidnapping, abduction, common assault, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, child neglect, contravention of protection orders and theft.
According to Mashigo, 57 of these convictions were for rape, of which 34 involved children aged 18 years and younger.
Child Protection Week was held in May, Youth Day will be held this month, and Women’s Day in August. Mashigo addressed the media against this background, saying police in Limpopo are working hard to respond to the call made by the minister of police, Nathi Mthethwa to enhance the management and successful prosecution of crimes against women and children.
He praised the work of the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units from the different areas to ensure criminals are put behind bars.
"I want to commend the persistence of the teams throughout the province in tracking down these rapists.
"The police will not rest until they are brought to justice.
"I hope the length of the sentences imposed in these cases sends a clear message to would-be-offenders."
Convictions and sentences include:
• Sydney Leshabane (18) from Maake has been sentenced to three life sentences for the rapes of two 10-year-old girls in 2008 and 2009 respectively, as well as a 12-year-old in 2009.
• Foster Nkwongwana (19) and Sewetja Kgatle (22) were given life sentences for the rape of a 16-year-old girl in 2007.
• Matome Peter Morobela (33) of Tzaneen was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of a 16-year-old girl.
• Morné Grobler (34) of Louis Trichardt was sentenced to three life sentences for the rape of his 11-year-old step daughter; he was convicted on June 3 this year.
• Jomo Molefe Serage (24) was sentenced to three life sentences plus 23 years in jail.
The crimes he was sentenced for include three rapes, two for theft, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property, pointing of a firearm and aggravated robbery.
• Petrus Mathebula (29) was sentenced to two life sentences for the rape of two women aged 28 and 29 in 2007.
• Nkhumbuleni Tshiedzaedza (27) who preyed on women from 2006 to 2009 - was sentenced to two life terms and 81 years in prison by the Sibasa regional court on six counts of rape and robbery.
• Berry Sithole (28) was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of a 15-year-old girl in Giyani.