A CARETAKER at a school in Kezi, Matabeleland South has been jailed 30 years for raping two siblings aged 10 and 12 years and infecting one with syphilis.
Sikhangele Sibanda (30) who works at Donkwe Donkwe Secondary School met the two juveniles who learn at Donkwe Donkwe Primary School while they were collecting firewood and raped them one after the other.
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.
Sibanda was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for both counts and 10 years were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
He will serve an effective 20-year jail term. Prosecuting, Mr Pernson Chekeya said Sibanda raped the two girls on 29 August last year.
"On 29 August 2018 in the morning the two complainant's who are Grade Four and Grade Five pupils at Donkwe Donkwe Primary School were collecting firewood along a river when they met Sibanda who was cutting logs.
"Sibanda asked the siblings to assist him to carry the logs to the school and they complied.
"When they got to the school Sibanda first grabbed the 10-year-old girl and raped her while he ordered her sister to sit and watch.
"He went on to rape the 12-year-old while her younger sister watched and after he had finished he ordered the juveniles to proceed home and warned them against reporting the matter," he said.
Mr Chekeya said the juveniles narrated what had happened to their aunt. The matter was reported to the police leading to Sibanda's arrest. He said the two juveniles underwent a medical examination and results showed that Sibanda had infected the 12-year-old with syphilis.
In his defence Sibanda through his lawyer, Mrs Bridget Mushaninga of Legal Aid Directorate denied committing the offence.
He said on the day in question he found the two children collecting firewood within the school premises and rebuked them but did not have any physical contact with any of them.
"My client denies having raped the complainants as alleged. There is bad blood between his wife and the complainants' aunt and he also owes the aunt $20 which he has failed to pay for a long time. He is convinced that the aunt fabricated all these allegations against him in order to fix him and ensure that my client loses his job."
Mrs Mushaninga said her client had never suffered from syphilis.