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Deaf rapist faces life sentence

September 17, 2007


A 56-year-old deaf man has appeared in the Grahamstown High Court for a pre-sentence inquiry after he was found guilty of raping a girl of 11.

Sipoponi Ncikwe was convicted in the Sterkstroom regional court of raping the girl in June, 2006.

He appeared before judge Andre Erasmus and two assessors.

He had pleaded guilty to the rape charge in the regional court and had been referred to the High Court as he could face a life sentence.

The burly grey-haired Ncikwe sat impassively in the dock as Grahamstown clinical psychologist Karen Andrews presented evidence of psychological and emotional trauma of the rape victim.

Andrews said the girl displayed symptoms of a depressive disorder that was common in children who had been sexually assaulted or raped.

“There is some kind of psychological and emotional trauma in all children that have suffered this kind of abuse, and very often this can turn inward and become self-destructive behaviour.”

In arguments in mitigation of sentence, Ncikwe’s lawyer, Templeton Solani, asked the judge not to impose a life sentence on his client.

“He is married with a child of 10 and received a disability grant of R870 a month when he became deaf while working on the mines. He has never been to school. He pleaded guilty and did not waste the court’s time, and he has no previous convictions.

“My client has shown great remorse for his actions.”

However, state advocate Lwazi Ngodwana argued that the girl was only 11 and the accused “was seen as a father figure to the girl.

“The only mitigating factor in this case is that the girl did not sustain any serious injury, and, if the court does not impose a life sentence, then I must ask the court to send the accused to prison for a very long time.”

Ncikwe will be sentence later this week. The Legal Aid Board instructs Solani.