The sentence was handed down on Tuesday.
While police had charged the mother of the child with defeating the ends of justice for not taking action after she was informed her daughter was being raped by her husband, the National Prosecuting Authority did not prosecute her. However, the girl and her sister, 4, have been removed from their mother and now live in a place of safety.
According to Mpumalanga Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the man arrived at home on February 22, 2018 to find his victim sleeping.
He then ordered his other stepdaughter, 4, to stand at the door and guard for his wife while he raped the girl.
However, neighbours noticed something was wrong when they saw her limping on her way home from school.
“They then became worried and asked her what was wrong, at which she disclosed what had happened.
“The neighbours then informed her mother. However, she dismissed them. The neighbours took it upon themselves to report the matter to the police and the suspect was arrested on 23 February 2018, at Kgwaditiba Trust in Green Valley near Bushbuckridge where the incident happened.
“He (suspect) was granted R1 000 bail while the two girls were relocated to a place of safety.”
Hlathi said when they got information from the neighbours that they had told the mother her husband was abusing her child but did nothing, they arrested her and charged her with defeating the ends of justice. However, the NPA did not pursue that charge.
During the trial, the girl revealed it was not the first time her stepfather had raped her – he had raped her twice before the February 22 incident.
The man was convicted in February and sentencing was postponed until Tuesday where Magistrate Annemarie Theron slapped him with a life sentence.
In handing down the sentence, Theron said the man had showed no remorse and still denied what he had done to the child. She also read parts of the the social workers’ report, which revealed the victim now suffered from urinary incontinence as a result of the rape.
He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm and his name would be entered in the national register for sex offenders.
Mpumalanga Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma commended the “sterling work” done by the Department of Justice, NPA as well as the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit members in ensuring that overwhelming evidence was brought against the accused, which led to the maximum sentence.
He also said he appreciated the fact that the community did not take the law into their own hands but rather reported the matter to the police.
“I am delighted that another rapist has been removed from the society and that the sentencing will send a strong message to gender based violence perpetrators,” Zuma said.