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90 times rapist convicted in South Africa

90 times rapist convicted in South Africa
Inmates stand behind bars in The Maximum Security Section, of The Leeuwkop ...   -  
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South Africa

A South African court on Tuesday convicted a man of more than 90 rapes, some of which involved children of nine years.

The Palm Ridge Court near Johannesburg convicted Nkosinathi Phakathi, 38, who targeted schoolgirls and also forced children to watch him commit rape for nine years between 2012 and 2021.

"He would prey on his victims while they were going to or returning from school or work, in the morning or evening... He would prey on some of them in their own homes," Lumka Mahanjana, spokesperson for the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) detailed in a statement.

"He pretended to be an electrician who came to repair a water heater or other household appliances and raped them (...) In some cases, when he raped several people at once, he forced the other person to watch," she added.

He was arrested in March last year after attempting to return to the home of one of his victims, prosecutors said. Police shot him in the leg, which has since been amputated.

On Tuesday, wearing a gray hoodie, the convict, who pleaded guilty last week to 148 counts, sat staring at the floor, his head slumped between his forearms that rested on a pair of crutches, as the judge reviewed the long list of his crimes.

- "Pandemic" of rapes -

He was then convicted of 90 rapes, forcing four other people to rape, forcing a child to watch a sex act on three occasions, 43 kidnappings, two assaults, and four robberies.

He is scheduled to be served with his sentence in early December.

The verdict comes a week after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said sexual violence should be considered the main "pandemic" affecting the country, while not a day goes by without new reports of "horrific" crimes.

Police data shows that rape and sexual offenses increased by 13% between 2017/18 and 2021/2022, while murders of women increased by 52% in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Some women's rights advocates accuse the government of not doing enough to combat the violence.

South Africa has been rocked recently by a series of horrific crimes, including the gang rape of eight women in July and the discovery of half a dozen women's bodies in a central Johannesburg building last month.

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