The High Court of South Africa; North West Division, sitting at the Klerksdorp Regional Court, has sentenced Johannes Ontsheketse Tshabile, 43, to 11 life terms on rape charges.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional Spokesperson, North West Division, Henry Mamothame, in a statement on Friday, February 23, 2024, said the court also sentenced Tshabile to a cumulative 363 years for other serious charges that include 9 other charges of rape, attempted murder, theft, robbery with aggravating circumstances, robbery, attempted robbery, assault, assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, attempt to commit a sexual offence and sexual assault.

Tshabile, who was on the list of the most wanted criminals in the North West, pleaded not guilty to all 65 charges which the court found him guilty.

“Tshabile’s conviction emanates from incidents that took place in Wolmaransstad in the district of Maquassi between December 2012 and May 2018, wherein he accosted unsuspecting women on the streets,” the statement read.

“He would then drag them to nearby fields, threaten them with a knife, rob them of their belongings and rape them before fleeing the scene. In some instances, he would strangle, stab with a knife, and assault with bricks and other objects before robbing and raping his victims.

“He would in some instances, accost couples and attack the male counterparts and assault them before robbing and raping their partners after they had fled the scene.

“Amongst his victims are a 15-year-old girl and a 65-year-old elderly woman who endured the pain in his hands. It also emerged in court that in some incidents he was accompanied by an unknown accomplice who also committed similar offences with him. He was linked to the offences through DNA specimens.

“Tshabile was arrested in 2019, following an intensive police investigation and the court denied him bail. He also managed to escape from the Wolmaransstad police station, aided by a police officer.

“He was later rearrested and the police officer was dismissed from duty and criminally charged. The matter is still pending in court. In aggravation of the sentence, Adv Riekie Krause, urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment, considering the emotional, physical, and psychological trauma suffered by the victims in the hands of Tshabile. She further urged the court to consider the Victim Impact Statements, wherein the victims describe their ordeal and the trauma they continue to suffer in their day-to-day lives, owing to the rape and assault incidents.

“Judge Tebogo Djadje agreed with the state and remarked on the responsibility the court has in protecting society against such perpetrators, particularly after they lived in fear for almost six years. She further described Tshabile as remorseless and having no regard for women and children.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Dr Rachel Makhari, together with the North West Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, lauded the prosecutor, Sergeant Pule Morake from the South African Police Service (SAPS) for ensuring that the victims were afforded the justice they deserve.

“They further commended the role played by the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) for discharging their mandate of prioritising sexual offences cases and the Thuthuzela Care Center for providing the necessary support to the victims in preparation for trial.”