S.African man found guilty of 90 rapes targeting schoolgirls
Published: Nov 09, 2022 10:02 PM
A South African court on Tuesday found a man guilty of 90 counts of rape, some involving children as young as 9, in a case that has shocked the nation. 

The court in Palm Ridge, near Johannesburg, heard how Nkosinathi Phakathi, 38, targeted schoolgirls and forced children to watch him carry out rapes during a 9-year reign of terror. 

"He targeted his victims while they were going or coming back from school or work in the morning or evening... he targeted some in their own home," said Lumka Mahanjana, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). "He would pretend to be an electrician coming to fix a geyser or other household appliances and rape them... in some instances when raping more than one person at a time, he made the other watch."

The majority of his victims were children, the youngest just 9, the oldest 44, the NPA said. 

Phakathi committed his crimes in or around Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, between 2012 and 2021. 

He was arrested in March 2021, after attempting to go back to one of his victims' home, the authority said.

Police reportedly shot him in a leg, which has since been amputated. 

On Tuesday, Phakathi, who last week pleaded guilty to 148 charges, sat with his head slumped between his forearms that rested on a pair of crutches, as the judge read the long list of counts. 

He was then convicted of 90 counts of rape, four counts of compelled rape, three counts of compelling or causing a child to witness a sexual act, 43 counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault as well as four counts of theft. Sentencing is scheduled for early December. 

"The state intends to ask the court to impose a sentence that will send a strong message that such offenses of gender-based violence will not be tolerated," said Mahanjana. 

Police data showed rapes and sexual offences in South Africa went up 13 percent between 2017-18 and 2021-22, while murders of women were up 52 percent in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021.