Africa-Press – Lesotho. Tshepo Masaleng (27), is being punished for four counts of kidnapping and four counts of rape of three minor girls aged 13,14 and 16 years, and a young lady who at the time was 18 years old.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said the magistrate ordered that his name be added to the National Register for Sexual Offenders and be declared unfit to possess a firearm.
He introduced himself with a false name and proposed love and when the complainant refused, he pointed her with something that looked like a firearm and forced her into an old building where he raped her.
After the rape, he accompanied her to where she was going and told her not to tell anyone. On her arrival at her aunt’s place, she told her older male cousin what happened.
He then took her to the police station to report the matter,” Lumka explained. She added that on a separate incident on 15 December 2018, three minor girls were on their way to church in the evening when they met with Masaleng.
He instructed them to walk with him until they reached an abandoned building next to Thabong Mall. He told them to strip naked and face the wall, and proceeded to rape them one by one.
When he was done, he told them to stop walking alone at night. While running to the church they met a woman whom they told about the incident. The woman called the pastor of the church where the minors were going.
At church, the pastor called the police, who took them to the police station and medical examination. ” Masaleng was arrested on 7 December at Thabong mall when one of the minor children who was with her mother spotted him and told her mother.
The mother confronted him and the community members who saw the confrontation apprehended him and called the police. “He has been in custody since his arrest after the state successfully opposed bail.
He was linked by DNA evidence to the offences, however, Masaleng pleaded not guilty to the charges against him,” Lumka indicated. She went on to say the four victims were prepared by Court Preparation Officer (CPO) Lizzy Dlamini before they testified in court through the intermediary services.
The CPO also referred them for counselling. “In their Victim Impact Statements (VIS) one victim indicated that she still has suicidal thoughts because she cannot get over what happened. Another one indicated that she was proud of her virginity, but it was taken forcefully,”
Lumka said in aggravation the Regional Court Prosecutor Vusi Gilbert Mbabane, told the court that the vulnerable groups in our society, women and children should be protected and should have freedom of movement regardless of the time.
He further asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence. The Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi applauded the good work done by the prosecutor, the court preparation officer, and the SAPS investigation team. He also thanked the role played by community members in protecting the victims.