A PLUMTREE man, who forced two sisters to drink opaque beer and raped them in their drunken stupor, will spent the next 20 years in jail.

Pint-sized Zenzo Ndebele, 38, from Mayobodo area pounced on his neighbour's two daughters aged 16 and 10 and raped them before he threatened to assault them if they reported the matter.

Ndebele, who pleaded not guilty to rape, was convicted by regional magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He will, however, serve 20 years in prison after 10 years were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar crime. Nyathi noted there was an increase in rape cases involving child victims.

"I regard that Ndebele's moral turpitude is high. He is a bad neighbour who pounced on two innocent girls while their parents were away. Rape cases are prevalent thus justifying deterrent sentences because rape is a serious crime," said Nyathi.

"Ndebele exposed the victims to STIs and because they are unsophisticated rural people, they took long to report the crime thereby depriving the girls of benefiting from the window period to post exposure prophylaxis. In the circumstances, a lengthy prison term is justified," ruled the magistrate.

Prosecuting, Dumisani Ndlovu told the court that on September 5 shortly after 5PM, Ndebele approached the girls while they were playing in their yard in the absence of their parents. He demanded sex from the eldest sister after sending her siblings, who included a 12-year-old brother, to a nearby homestead to buy opaque beer.

"Ndebele grabbed the girl, tripped her and laid her on the floor in the kitchen hut before raping her once without protection. The victim tried to scream but he closed her mouth while pinning her down by her neck," said Ndlovu.

Ndebele also threatened to assault the girl, the court heard.

When the younger siblings came back with the opaque beer, Ndebele forced the three siblings to drink it threatening to beat them up if they refused.

"The eldest got drunk and fell asleep and Ndebele then asked the 10-year-old girl to accompany him to his homestead and the girl refused. He forcibly took the girl and placed her on his bicycle and travelled for about 75 metres into a bushy area where he ordered the girl to remove her clothes before raping her," said Ndlovu.

Soon after committing the crime, the court was told, Ndebele fished out 10 condoms from his pockets and gave the victim so that she could play with them.

In her evidence, the 10-year-old girl said Ndebele forced them to drink five litres of opaque beer.

"I left our home with my brother and Ndebele stayed behind with my elder sister. We came back with five litres of opaque beer and he forced the three of us to drink it," said the girl.

"He got hold of me and put me on a bicycle carrier and pushed it for a distance before stopping. He raped me and gave me 10 condoms to play with."

The girl said she screamed for help but no one heard her.

When the girls' parents returned two days later, the girls related their ordeal and Ndebele was arrested five days later.not satisfied with the product she can come and get her money" said Matanga. The soap was bought for US$2.


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