Detectives from the Eastern Cape are being praised for securing the conviction and sentencing of three rapists to five life terms and 20 years’ imprisonment.

In a statement, Captain Khaya Tonjeni, provincial police spokesperson said the detectives’ hard work had paid off as the men were sentenced earlier this week.

Tonjeni said the three rapists, aged between 24 and 28, were sentenced to life imprisonment in separate cases.

Another suspect, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was sentenced for raping a 48-year-old.

Tonjeni further said that Vuyani April, 28, from the Fort Malan Mission locality in Willowvale, was found guilty after he entered the house of his 20-year-old victim, dragged her out of her home to a nearby abandoned house and raped her.

In a separate case, Zolani Matikinca, 24, also from the Fort Malan Mission locality, was convicted of dragging his 21-year-old victim to her own house, where he raped her.

Tonjeni also said both suspects were arrested and convicted in the Willowvale Regional Court. They were each sentenced to life imprisonment and six years’ imprisonment.

In a separate incident, a man of the cloth, Lubabalo Sabhawu, 27, from Elliotdale, known in the community as a prophet, was accused of raping three minors between the ages of 15 and 16 in separate incidents.

In 2019, aged 15 at the time, Banele Maka from Kwenxura in Mqanduli was arrested for raping a 48-year-old.

He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.