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Pretoria – “I do not know why I raped the women. I just did it.”
This was the explanation of Johnny Mapadimeng, who admitted to raping women on three occasions after kidnapping them and robbing them of their cellphones.
The man, dressed in an imitation snakeskin jacket and multicoloured trousers for court appearances last week, sometimes raped the women alongside an accomplice over a period of three years. While the accomplice is still roaming free, Mapadimeng was only arrested for the rapes, robberies and kidnappings nearly 10 years afterwards.
This was coincidental, as he was arrested on an unrelated robbery charges – for which he is now serving 15 years imprisonment.
After his capture, the police managed to link him via his DNA to a spate of rapes which happened nearly a decade ago. Mapadimeng admitted to the 13 charges against him and on which he was convicted.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced him to a total of 80 years’ imprisonment on Friday. Judge Hennie de Vos ordered that he serve 30 years of this jail term, which will start once he has concluded his 15 years on the unrelated robbery charges, which he had already started serving.
In taking the stand in mitigation of sentence, Mapadimeng, 34, asked his victims to forgive him. The women, who sat in the public gallery, came to court to see their attacker go to jail forever. All of them saw him again for the first time this week in court after he had raped them. He always used the same modus operandi – he, sometimes with his accomplice –would scout the streets at night for two women walking together. Mapadimeng then threatened them with a toy gun, which they believed to be a real firearm.
He would force them to a secluded spot where he robbed them of their cellphones, before raping them. On occasion he and his accomplice raped the women side by side.
Mapadimeng told the court that he was now a changed man and had given his heart to God while in jail. He also apologised for the negative effects the crimes had on the victims. He said he had done courses in prison to better himself and also attended church.
He was questioned by the State why he did not apologise earlier for the crimes he committed as the victims had to live with the consequences for years; some of them had to suffer for as long as 10 years.
He said the victims were unknown to him. He conceded that he did not contact the police to confess to the crimes after he became a changed man.
The court, however, said he had no other option than to plead guilty because he was linked to his victims – whom he raped without a condom – via DNA evidence. But Mapadimeng insisted he had pleaded guilty because he was remorseful. He said he would also now divulge information to the SAPS regarding his accomplice.
The prosecution told the judge that his victims’ ages ranged between 17 and 20 years. One of the traumatised victims said she was once a very beautiful girl but the rape caused her to become lesbian and to dress like a man.
Another said she suffered anxiety, and could not work because she was constantly scared.
They all agreed that their lives had been changed irrevocably. All the victims suffered injuries, and one still suffers consequences of her injuries.
“Raping a woman is a brutal savage violation and an invasion of a woman’s dignity and respect. A woman who has been raped is not only humiliated, but attracts a measure of stigmatisation. Raped victims often become spoiled goods in the eyes of society,” Judge de Vos said. He added that society required that a message be sent to everyone living inside the boundaries of this country that severe punishment would be meted out for serious crimes.
“You allowed your own lust and greed to attack the complainants. You did not hesitate to use force to reach your ultimate goal. You attacked these people under the protection of the night. You continued with similar deeds over a period of two years. It took the police over 10 years before you were arrested,” the judge told Mapadimeng.