Serial rapist taxi driver asks court for mercy
It remains to be seen on Monday whether the plea for mercy by taxi driver turned serial rapist Lebogang Gift Mokoena will be taken into consideration when his sentencing proceedings get under way in the High Court in Palm Ridge.
The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to kidnapping‚ robbing and raping some of his passengers during a year-long reign of terror between September 2016 and October 2017.
He confessed to being part of a three-man gang which kidnapped‚ raped and robbed female commuters across Gauteng in what was then known as the taxi rapes‚ Sowetan reported.
In his plea statement‚ Mokoena told the court how he and two accomplices raped a woman in the presence of her mother after they boarded their taxi on Main Reef Road in 2016.
"My friend was driving and I was seated in the passenger section. I accosted the pair with a cigarette lighter and searched their bags‚ before taking their valuables‚" Mokoena said. He said they pulled over at an ATM and he withdrew R300 from one of the victim's bank accounts.
"I then returned to the taxi and raped the first complainant several times while the taxi was in motion. The second complainant‚ who was also in the taxi‚ was assaulted by one of my friends as she was attempting to fight while the rape was taking place."
Mokoena detailed seven other incidents in which he and his accomplices picked up female commuters‚ raped and robbed them.
He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of rape‚ nine of kidnapping‚ nine of robbery with aggravating circumstances‚ one of sexual assault and nine of pointing an object that resembled a firearm.
He said the incidents occurred in Soweto‚ Booysens‚ Vosloorus and Orange Farm.
Mokoena explained how he forced his victims to perform oral sex on him while threatening them with a cigarette lighter that resembled a firearm‚ before raping them without using a condom.
He asked the court for leniency during sentencing proceedings.
"I decided to plead guilty and take the court into my confidence and not waste its time. I am aware that my actions caused trauma to the victims‚ which they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. I am pleading with the court to show leniency in handing down a sentence."