A 91-year-old man who claimed to be a traditional healer in Mpumalanga has been sentenced to 12 life sentences for raping children brought to him to be healed.

Mdungwa Johannes Malinga was sentenced by the Carolina Magistrate’s court for offences he committed between 2006 and 2007.

“The court heard how Malinga‚ who claimed to be a traditional healer‚ sexually exploited children aged between seven and nine that were brought to him to be healed. Some of the children slept over at his house so that he could perform rituals and in the process‚ Malinga took advantage and raped them. Three of the victims were also severely assaulted by the accused‚” said police spokesperson brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

“Malinga’s antics were exposed when some of the parents noticed strange behaviour from their children. They then took them for medical examination and rape was indeed confirmed.

“Twelve children came forth and opened cases‚ hence the 12 life sentences. Malinga was further handed a three-year sentence for each of the three grievous bodily harm assault cases. However‚ the court ordered that all the sentences will run concurrently‚” said Hlathi. Malinga was sentenced on Friday.

Hlathi said that police‚ in conjunction with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the judiciary were continuing to remove “bad elements who have no respect for women and children from the society‚ regardless of age”.

Women will march across South Africa on Wednesday to raise awareness around gender-based violence.