Brutal serial rapist gets 32 life sentences


Convicted serial rapist Sinja Robin Mabitsela does not recall most of the heinous crimes he committed because he was high on drugs.

This came out yesterday in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg where the 38-year-old was sentenced to 32 life sentences for 23 counts of rape, six counts of compelled rape, 18 counts of armed robbery, three counts of sexual assault, two counts of kidnapping, and a count of assault with intentions to cause grievous bodily harm. He was also sentenced to a further 275 years for kidnapping and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

According to a social worker's report read out in court by Judge Carla van Veenendaal, Mabitsela was high on rock while carrying out most of the crimes he pleaded guilty to. "The accused said he started using drugs after the death of his previous partner with whom he has a child," Van Veenendaal said.

"The accused said he was high during his involvement in most of the crimes he committed and that he could not remember some of them."

The report further stated that Mabitsela claimed that he was forced by his co-accused, Josias Xaniseka Mkansi, 50, who was out on parole at the time. The duo were dubbed the balaclava rapists and they terrorised Alexandra residents between 2007 and 2015. They raped, robbed and forced men to rape their partners while watching. They were caught in 2015.

Mabitsela covered his face and head with a scarf and red towel while keeping his eyes fixed on the floor during sentencing proceedings.

Van Veenendaal said the state had 16 victim impact reports in which most of the victims said they were left traumatised by their ordeals.

She said for a period of eight years, the community of Alexandra was under siege from Mabitsela and Mkansi.

"The fact that the accused pleaded guilty is a neutral fact. The fact the accused wanted to apologise to the victims does not work as a mitigation factor and there is no indication that there is a true change of heart," she said.

Miranda Jordan-Friedmann of Women and Men Against Child Abuse was happy with the sentence. "Although no sentence fully compensates the trauma and heartache endured by victims, we are satisfied with the sentence."

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