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South Coast Predatory Nightmare Ends as Serial Rapist Sakhile Mhlungu Convicted

Published March 12, 2024
2 months ago

In a turning point for justice along the South Coast, a serial rapist’s spree of terror has been halted. Sakhile Bhekisisa Mhlungu, 44, was convicted by Scottburgh regional court magistrate Asheena Bacharam of 19 heinous charges including child rape, kidnapping, attempted sexual offense, robbery, and discharging a firearm.

Over the course of two years, from April 2019 until April 2021, Mhlungu trawled through the streets of small towns in a white bakkie, searching for his next victim, often in broad daylight. His predatory approach would either involve offering unsuspecting teenage girls lifts or abducting them at gunpoint. The victims, ranging in ages from 11 to 17, with one 22-year-old woman, were then forcibly taken to isolated areas where he sexually assaulted them.

In a chilling confession in court, Mhlungu admitted to his crimes. Detailed in his guilty pleas, he recounted an instance of abducting a 17-year-old near the Mahawini bus stop on Valentine's Day 2022 and raping her in a forested area after threatening her with a firearm.

His youngest victim, an 11-year-old girl abducted near Highflats’ Thoyi Bridge, was raped at gunpoint after Mhlungu fired his weapon to intimidate her into submission. These admissions in the sanctity of the court laid bare the predatory and calculated nature of his offenses.

Supported by unassailable DNA evidence linking him to the rapes, Mhlungu's remorse was conveyed through his lawyer, Leslie Pillay. Despite the regret expressed, the weight of his actions and the harm inflicted on his victims and their families remain indisputable.

In the pursuit of due legal process, the court has agreed to a postponement for sentencing to March 19 to allow Mhlungu to consult with his family, and for the state to engage with the victims—an indication of the court's consideration for the affected parties’ closure and healing.

Following a judicial journey that started on May 5, 2022, the case conclusion nears, with Mhlungu remanded in custody. The community, having endured the gravity of his crimes, now awaits the final judgment on his fate.

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