In June last year, Sbahle Shange was convicted of abducting and raping the child.

A 27-year old man has been sentenced to life behind bars for kidnapping and raping a six-year-old girl.

In a statement on Thursday, Kwazulu-Natal police said the Umlazi Regional Court convicted Sbahle Shange of abducting and raping the child on June 12 last year.

The child was walking in the Ezimangweni area in KwaMakhutha after visiting her mother when Shange attacked her. He forced her into his house where he raped her.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said when the girl’s mother heard what had happened she went to Shange’s house: “The victim’s mother shouted for help and the community members came to assist her. The suspect fled the scene but the community managed to apprehend him.”

The community handed him over to police and he was subsequently charged in the Umlazi Regional Court with rape and kidnapping.

KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa, praised the community.

“I also thank the community members who stood up and fought child abuse in the area by apprehending the accused and handed him over to the police. Victims of abuse must break the silence and report such crimes.

“They must not be intimidated by any criminals when threatened to be killed. Our dedicated and committed FCS (Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences) unit will make sure that those reported cases are properly investigated and criminals are brought to book,” he said.