16 Days of Activism: Christmas behind bars for three men who gang raped teenage girl five years ago

A photogrid of three men

Sikhumbuzo Jacob Hlophe, Thokozani David Hlophe, and Thokozane Obert Zwane, have each been sentenced to 18 years in jail for the December 2018 gang rape of a teenage girl in Mpumalanga. File Picture

Published Dec 7, 2023

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A horrific gang rape incident which took place in a vehicle five years ago has led to the conviction and sentencing of three men in a small Mpumalanga farming town.

The victim was 16-years-old at the time when she was gang-raped inside a vehicle belonging to one of the accused men.

The vehicle was parked at a tavern in the town of Morgenzon, according to Mpumalanga provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

“It was heard in court that the trio, Sikhumbuzo Jacob Hlophe, 38, Thokozani David Hlophe, 28, and Thokozane Obert Zwane, 30 raped the victim in December 2018,” Mohlala said.

Three Mpumalanga men (from left) Thokozane Obert Zwane, Thokozani David Hlophe, and Sikhumbuzo Jacob Hlophe have each been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the December 2018 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. Picture: SAPS

“The incident was reported to the police and the case was assigned to Standerton family violence, child protection and sexual offences (FCS) unit where investigators worked tirelessly and conducted an intense investigation.”

Mohlala said the law enforcement team made a breakthrough when they arrested the three suspects the day after the rape ordeal.

“The three were found guilty and sentenced to 18 years of direct imprisonment each by the Secunda Regional Court on Monday, December 4,” he said.

Three Mpumalanga men Thokozane Obert Zwane, Thokozani David Hlophe, and Sikhumbuzo Jacob Hlophe have each been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the December 2018 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. Picture: SAPS

Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the sentence, and commended the investigating team’s quick response “as well as the exceptional investigation” which culminated in the sentence.

“The sentence came at the time when the world has embarked on 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children,” said Manamela.

“The sentence should serve as a deterrent and lesson for community members to refrain from any form of abuse.”

South Africa has joined nations across the world in observing the international campaign. Internationally, the period is called the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

It is an annual international campaign which kicks off on November 25 listed by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign runs until December 10.

IOL