By Ramotswedi Rammutla
Moretele: The Moretele Regional Court has handed a life sentence with an additional 30 years for multiple counts of rape to Benjamin Bapela. He was sentenced 10 year imprisonment on count two, 15 years on count three, four and five and life imprisonment in respect of all five rape charges. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.
According to the National Prosecuting Agency in the North West; “Bapela was convicted for raping Motsatsi Matlou (26) in 2013. Matlou was walking from a tavern in Temba in the early hours of the morning when she met with Bapela who grabbed and pulled her to the nearby bushes and raped her. In 2016, he raped Mmule Mpye (18) in Temba at a tavern in the early hours of the morning. Mpye allegedly went outside to answer her phone when Bapela emerged from behind, throttled her and pulled her to the fence and raped her”.
Bapela had continued with his serial offences through the year 2016 raping an additional 3 victims in his trail of terror. “In a separate incident in 2016 at a place called Suurman, in the early hours of the morning again, Bapela raped Nthabiseng Khoza (21). She was from her boyfriend’s home when Bapela emerged and assaulted her before dragging her into the nearby bushes and raped her. He was also charged for raping Dipuo Matsa (21) who was sleeping in a shack with her two- year-old child when she heard someone in the house. Upon inspection, she met Bapela who threatened her and her child with a knife. He then raped her and fled the scene” added the NPA.
Bapela was relentless as he also attacked a pregnant woman and raped her together with his friend. “Bapela was also convicted of raping a pregnant and asthmatic Lisbeth Mangwedi (22) in 2016 in Sekampaneng. He was allegedly in the company of an unknown man who also allegedly raped Mangwedi. On her way to the clinic, Mangwedi met with the two men who grabbed and throttled her while threatening her with a firearm. They took turns to rape her and fled the scene” continued the evidence presented by the NPA.
The state prosecutor in her argument for the maximum sentence asked the court to consider the impact of the acts by Bapela on the victim’s lives as well as their dignity which was gravely affected.
“The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Advocate Rachel Makhari – Sekhaolelo welcomed the conviction and hailed it a success for the criminal justice system in demonstrating it’s seriousness in dealing with issues of Gender Based Violence and Femicide” added the NPA.