Two life terms for child rapist

Mhlonishwa Gcwensa, 31, was yesterday jailed for two life terms and an additional three months for raping and strangling a two-year-old girl last month.

Mhlonishwa Gcwensa, 31, was yesterday jailed for two life terms and an additional three months for raping and strangling a two-year-old girl last month.

Gcwensa was sentenced in the Durban high court by Judge Nicholus van Reyden, who described him as a heartless person, who had been very cruel to take the life of an innocent child.

Gcwensa had last week pleaded guilty to the charges.

During plea bargaining, he said he met the child's mother, Charlotte Mkhize, at a hostel on September 26.

"I was with other men and we started drinking from 4pm to about 11pm. Round about 6pm, we were joined by five other boys and we continued drinking," he said.

They drank a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and 12 beers.

"While drinking, I proposed to Mkhize and she agreed.

"We reached an agreement that she was going to sleep in my room that night.

"And after our liquor was finished, after 11pm, we went to another tavern to buy more liquor, but only to find it closed," he said.

Mkhize then left, promising to return . "I waited for her but she did not return. After about 20 to 30 minutes I went to my room and found the baby sleeping.

I decided to rape her and when she cried out loud I shut her mouth and continued raping her".

Gcwensa said that after he was done, he realised that the child was no longer breathing.

"I then put her on the bed and left. While I was leaving, I met her mother and slapped her.

"I then ran away, but was arrested the following day," he said.

Kwazulu-Natal Childline director Linda Naidoo welcomed the sentence.

"This is one of few remarkable sentences in a long time and the judge must be applauded," Naidoo said.

"This will please many in our community who continue to struggle against the abuse of our children. It sends out a clear message that the violence will not be tolerated and other magistrate's should take note."

She said she was concerned about the increasing number of child rapes.

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