One of the longest-running rape cases in the country ended yesterday when two men were sentenced in the Groblersdal regional court.
The men raped a girl in 2002. The case was postponed more 48 times and was given attention only after Sowetan reported the plight of the girl.
Masuku Hendrick Matlanato, 27, and Johannes Skhosana, 24, both of Malebitsa Village in Moutse, were sentenced to 15 years in prison each.
They had pleaded guilty to raping the 14-year-old girl.
Magistrate Mark Botha described the offence as not being an ordinary rape, saying: "G iving you a minimum sentence of 10 years would be equating it to an ordinary rape ... it is in fact a gang rape."
He also described the case as having dragged on for a long time. Responding to a request by Skhosana's lawyer, Moepi Maubane, who asked the court to give his client a suspended sentence, Botha said: "Giving a gang of rapists a suspended sentence is a joke."
The two allegedly took the then teenager from a tavern to an unoccupied house nearby and raped her on December 12, 2002.
In mitigation, the court heard that Skhosana have three children, two of them aged five years old - one is from a different mother.
His present girlfriend is also pregnant with their third baby.
Both Skhosana and Matlanato were said to be first offenders without any previous convictions.
Skhosana and Matlanato applied for leave to appeal against the conviction and sentence, and Botha postponed the case to May 11.