A 44-year-old Sydwell Joseph Malatjie has been sentenced by the Mpumalanga High Court, to four life terms and fifty years direct imprisonment after he was convicted of multiple counts of rape.

National Prosecuting Authority provincial spokesperson in Mpumalanga Monica Nyuswa said Malatjie, of Arthur’s Seat Trust in Bushbuckridge, was sentenced on Thursday.

Nyuswa said “This sentence comes after Malatjie pleaded guilty to the crimes and was convicted on nine counts of rape”.

“During the period between December 2012 to June 2018, Malatjie would follow his victims to their private homes in Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge, break in during late or early hours.

“He would sometimes threaten them with a knife and forcefully rape them.”

He said three of the victims were raped repeatedly by Malatjie and one woman was raped in full view of her seven-year-old child.

In another incident in June 2018, Malatjie encountered an 11-year-old girl walking alone, choked her and dragged her into the bushes before raping her.

Nyuswa also said “Fortunately, Malatjie was caught in the act by community members and the police were alerted hence his arrest.

“After his arrest, DNA samples were taken and he was positively linked to all other crimes he committed previously”.

State advocates Lihle Ngcobo and Tula Bekwa addressed the high court in aggravation of sentence, asking the judge to slap Malatjie with a hefty sentence.

Nyuswa further said “They told the court that Malatjie has no respect for any person.

“The victims were confronted in their homes where they were supposed to be safe and protected. The State added that, a clear message had to be sent out, that there is no space for such conduct in our community”.

Victim impact statements compiled by court preparation officer Zodwa Lekhuleni were also submitted to the courts.

He said “During sentencing, Judge Anna Maleshane Kgoele found no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the [prescribed] minimum sentence.

“She added that Malatjie pleaded guilty not because he is remorseful but because of the watertight case the State had against him”.

Kgoele sentenced Malatjie to four life terms for the repeated rape cases, including the rape of the 11-year-old girl.

She also slapped Malatjie with another 10 years in jail for each rape incident of five adult victims.

The court ordered Malatjie’s name to be entered into the national register for sex offenders.