A convicted serial rapist from Tembisa, Gift Mkhwanazi, has been sentenced to 12 life imprisonment plus over 300 years in jail by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for a spate of rapes committed in and around the Ekurhuleni township between 2013 and June 2019.
Mkhwanazi, dubbed the Beast of Tembisa, was charged with 104 counts ranging from rape, kidnapping, pointing of a firearm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault and attempted murder.
National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Gauteng spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said police had registered more than 19 dockets where women were attacked on the streets at night or in early hours of the morning with the same modus operandi.
“The women could not identify the perpetrator as he accosted them from behind, pointed them with a firearm or knife to force them into the bushes or secluded areas. Once there, he would rob them of their cash and cell phones and thereafter rape them.
"Mkhwanazi was arrested following one of his friends, found in possession of one of the complainant’s cellphone. He was further linked through Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) that was extracted from one crime scene and complainants,” Mjonondwane said.
Mkhwanazi told the court that he does not know any of the witnesses that testified. He admitted the DNA report but failed to give an explanation as to why the DNA found on 17 victims and one crime scene matched his. He further denied that he ever raped, kidnapped or robbed the witnesses and said he never had a knife or firearm in his possession.
The State Advocate, Adele de Klerk, submitted that there exists no evidence to substantiate any finding that any of the witnesses conspired with each other to implicate the accused.
“There similarly exists no inherent improbabilities that militates against the acceptance of the state witnesses’ evidence,” de Klerk said, pleading with the court to reject Mkhwanazi's version.