Sangoma jailed for life for rapes
Johannesburg - A male sangoma was sentenced to life in jail by the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Tuesday for raping two teenage girls, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
Sphamandla Mncwabe raped a 14-year-old girl in December 2011, spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.
Her mother took her to him, a well-known sangoma in the area.
"Mncwabe led the mother of the complainant to believe that the girl needed to stay on his premises so that she can be healed, thus convincing her to leave the child there.
"He would, under the pretence of healing her, sexually abuse the girl. He would also make her consume alcohol claiming that it was part of the healing process and their ancestral spirits required she drink," Mncube said.
The girl was assaulted if she refused to have sex with him.
In May 2012, he raped another 14-year-old girl. There was nothing wrong with her, but he convinced her mother she needed traditional healing.
"The mother believed him as he was a sangoma and she left her daughter in his care."
Mncube said the girls were raped "sometimes separately and at times in the presence of each other".
When giving evidence, both girls confirmed Mncwabe was always present when their parents visited. They did not report him because they feared their parents would not believe them.
"When the parents had asked about sleeping arrangements they were told that the girls would sleep with his grandmother."
The girls ran away on 26 May 2012 after being repeatedly raped in each other's presence. They waited until he was asleep.
They slept in a forest until the sun began to rise and then went to a police station.
He raped the first girl five times and the second girl three times, and received a life sentence for each of the rapes.
The sentences would run concurrently.