In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
A taxi driver who raped a 12-year-old passenger was yesterday jailed for 20 years in the Cape high court.
Cape Judge-President John Hlophe ruled against a life sentence for Michael Mqwabulo, 34, saying there were substantial and compelling circumstances that justified a less severe sentence.
Mqwabulo was convicted of raping a girl under the age of 16 when he appeared in the Wynberg regional court in Western Cape in September last year.
Magistrate Susan Smith referred him to the high court for sentencing.
Hlophe agreed with defence counsel Michael Mlambo on a set of factors that cumulatively amounted to substantial and compelling circumstances.
These were the fact that Mqwabulo, the father of seven, was a first-time offender and had been in custody since his conviction in September last year.
Prosecutor Christiaan Jonker countered: "The accused was almost three times the girl's age. A Right-thinking person would expect someone of his age to have protected her, especially since he has seven children of his own.
Hlophe said rape was a serious invasion of a woman's privacy, and this case was even more serious since it involved a girl under the age of 16.
He told Mqwabulo: "When she boarded your taxi as a bona fide passenger, she entrusted her whole life to you, but you abused that trust."
Hlophe said the fact that Mqwabulo had escaped a life sentence did not mean he would get away lightly with what he had done.
The judge said: "I am satisfied that you must be sent away for a very long time."
People serving a life sentences have to do 25 years before they may be considered for parole. - Sapa