On Friday 6 November, Malibongwe Ncokolo, a notorious serial rapist, was sentenced to 7 life sentences and 300 years imprisonment by the Bisho High Court in Eastern Cape , South Africa.
From 2014 until his arrest in 2017, 44-year-old Ncokolo, whose arrest on 07 June 2017 marked the end of the reign of terror for many girls and women in Mdantsane, is alleged to have been responsible for numerous rape attacks with impunity.
His arrest came after he attempted on 6 June 2020 to rape a 14-year-old girl. The strong and courageous young woman, much to his dismay, managed to kick him with both feet on his stomach, and he rolled down a steep slope. The young girl succeeded in running and calling for assistance.
A group of community members pursued the perpetrator who managed to flee. He was captured by community members at his home a day after his lucky escape. Just in time, the police came and arrested him.
His oral sample was taken and sent to the laboratory in Cape Town and he was related to many cases of rape around the region of Mdantsane.
With 140 witnesses and 22 victims and rape survivors, his trial began in September 2020. He nevertheless pleaded not guilty, despite the overwhelming evidence raised against him.
Of the 22 survivors, 12 were juveniles between the ages of 9 and 15. It is stated that from home to school and back from the local car wash where he was working, he tracked their movements. When they were passing a bushy, uninhabited area on their way to school, he would then prey on them.
For 41 counts, he was convicted as follows;
1. Murder – 3 counts
2. Rape – 19 counts
3. Theft – 3 counts
4. Sexual assault – 3 counts
5. Assault to do grievous bodily harm – 9 counts
6. Assault – 4 counts
Judge Belinda Stretcher who was presiding over the trial sentenced Nokolo on 3 November 2020 at Bisho High court as follows:-
• Count 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 Rape charges -20 years
• Count 9 Repeated rape- 25 years.
• Count 10 rape of 13 year old
• Count 11 rape and murder-two life sentences taken as one
• Count 12 Rape 20 years
• Count 14 Rape of 14 years old minor
• Count 15 Rape – 20 years
• Count 18, 19, 20 & 21 where four minors were involved-life sentence
• Count 23 Rape of 13 years old minor-life
• Count 25 Rape – 20 years
• Count 26 Rape of 11-year-old- life
• Count 30 & 32 Rape 20 years each
• Count 34 Theft 5 years
• Count 35 murder- 25 years
• Count 37 Murder life
• Count 38 Rape – 20 years
• Count 39 Rape of 14 years old minor-life
• Count 40 Theft -5 years
A statement released by the Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner’s Office confirmed that the police detective ‘s excellent cooperation with the prosecution and the courts culminated in the judge’s excellent arrest, successful conviction and sentencing.
Senior police management also thanked the two detectives who were responsible for the inquiries. The arrest and prosecution of all cases of rape and sexual offenses was the responsibility of Sgt Sizwe Gaika attached to the Provincial FCS (Family Abuse Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Investigation Unit, an award-winning detective who has careful attention to detail.
WO Phumelele Tile was responsible for solving three murder cases attached to Mdantsane SAPS detectives. Tile is an accomplished detective with over 25 years of murder and theft environment investigation. In 2018, he was nominated as a detective of the year.
Acting Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Major General Thembisile Patekile said that he was pleased with the role of detectives:
“The successful prosecution of the accused resulted in the cooperation and sterling work of both detectives. The courts certainly convicted and sentenced the accused on the basis of adequate proof and quality investigation as well as great team effort between the high court and the prosecution,” he said.
For one citizen in the province, the sentence would go down as one of the iconic sentences.