By Jonk wa Mashamba
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomes the sentence of a self-proclaimed prophet Delani Erick Zwane (28), by the Soshanguve Magistrates’ Court to two life terms for the rape of two minor girls age 14 and 15 respectively, at the time of the incident.
Zwane was initially charged with 3 counts of rape, however, he was acquitted on one count of rape of an 18-year-old woman.
All the victims are from the same neighbourhood as Zwane in Soshanguve, Pretoria.
According to Lumka Mahanjana, NPA Regional Spokesperson the two minor girls were friends and consulted with Zwane on different occasions in 2018.
Mahanjana said the girls were given a drink that made them feel dizzy, then he proceeded to ask them to undress so they can steam.
“While steaming, he raped them and threatened to kill them with “muti”, a traditional medication should they tell anyone about the incident,” said Mahanjana.
Mahanjana said on February 2019, a mother of one of the girls had gone to consult another Prophet, who told her that her child was raped by Zwane.
“The mother confronted the child who admitted and also informed her about her friend as well. The parents of the victims went to Zwane’s home in an attempt to confront him.
“He saw community members in his yard from a distance and fled for 6 months, but later returned and handed himself over to the police on 25 September 2019. He was arrested and kept in custody,” Mahanjana said.
Zwane pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him. However, the state proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that indeed Zwane committed these crimes he was accused of.
In his argument, prosecutor Sifiso Hlongwane, argued that “there can be no greater crime than to deprive a child of her innocence, especially a vulnerable child”.
He further reminded the court that based on one of the Victim impact statements, at the time of the incident, one of the victims was a virgin and Zwane took that pride away from her.
Moreover, he asked the court not to ignore the fact that the country has a high level of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) against children and women, therefore the court should impose life imprisonment.
“The NPA is dedicated to fighting the scourge of GBV against children and women in our communities. And we appreciate the work of the investigating team of the South African Police Service (SAPS) that investigated this matter,” concluded Mahanjana.