Foster dad jailed for life over decade-long rape, abuse of daughter

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Joined: Feb 2017

A married 62-year-old who sexually assaulted and raped his foster daughter for more than a decade — until a social worker believed her harrowing ordeal — has been sentenced to life behind bars in Cape Town. 

“The child rapist, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, lived with his wife and four other foster children,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila. 

The man sexually abused and raped the child from the age of seven until she turned to a social worker for help, aged 17, and he was arrested.

Prosecutor Ilana Bester told the court: “The rapes happened three to four times per week, and she also had to cook for the accused. She felt nobody believed her and out of fear she just did as she was told. He was her [father], and she respected him and the authority of being the father in the house. When she went to high school, she started keeping a diary, writing down her feelings and documenting dates and times of the rapes.”

Her siblings thought she was being favoured by their father, “until she informed them, at the age of 11, that he instructed her to get into his bed and have sex with her”.

She testified that the only time she would “get a ‘break’ was when family members of the accused from the Eastern Cape visited”, Bester told the court.

She was effectively stripped of a social life and forbidden to socialise. It was a verbal confrontation with her father upon her return late from an after-school concert, in which he accused her of having an affair, that drove the teen to approach a social worker who believed her story and a case was opened with the police and the man was arrested. 

Previous pleas for help, including to her schoolteacher, failed to halt the abuse.

The man’s wife was also arrested for failing to report the sexual assault of a minor. She entered a plea and sentencing agreement for five years of correctional supervision.

The victims were too afraid to report the rapes, fearing punishment, but testified against their father, confirming they were told about the rapes. 

The victim, now a 22-year-old financial management student, was supported by court preparation officer (CPO) Nonceba Dingiswayo. 

“My path with the victim was initially difficult, as she felt the system had failed her, but with the help of the CPO Rape Crisis, and just believing in her, our trust relationship grew and she was so comfortable at the trial stage and wanted to testify in an open court and not via CCTV,” said Bester.

Western Cape director of public prosecutions advocate Nicolette Bell called on “parents, teachers and community members to listen and believe reports of abuse from our children.

“They have no reason to lie about their abuses unless they are influenced by adults.”


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