By line: Kelebogile Masemola

24 February 2022

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed a hefty sentence that was handed down to a 29-year-old rapist.

Hector Nzima was sentenced on four counts of rape, assault and robbery on Wednesday, 23 February 2022 by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court which was sitting in Graskop

The court heard how the accused committed horrific crimes against defenceless women between 2013 and 2017 thereby subjecting women to live in fear and terror.

The man, who operated in areas around Acornhoek at a place called Cottondale near Bushbuckridge is said to have been driven by his lustful and evil desires.

It is said that on 02 February 2013, a woman who was 39-years old at the time alighted from a taxi in the evening.

The accused then attacked her and dragged her to the nearby bushes where he assaulted her as well as robbed her of some personal items, including her shoes, a cell phone and her clothes.

He then raped her and fled the scene, leaving her naked in the dark.

The victim then walked out of the bushes and went to a certain house where she was offered assistance.

The incident was reported to the police whereby a case was opened and assigned to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) in Acornhoek with a launch of manhunt for the suspect.

On 18 October 2014, a woman who was 20-years old then was at a certain tavern in Cottondale.

She then received a phone call and as she went out of the tavern to answer her cell phone, the accused immediately attacked her after realising that she was alone.

Nzima then assaulted her with a brick and dragged her to the nearest church premises.

Upon arrival at the scene, he raped her outside the church.

The accused attempted to rob her of her cell phone but she managed to throw the gadget away and as it was dark, Nzima could not find the said cell phone.

This incident too was reported to police and the case was handled by the relevant FCS unit in the area.

A manhunt for the suspect was also launched.

Meanwhile on 29 April 2016, a female tertiary student who was 23-year-old by then, went to a local tavern with her friends.

Nature called for her then she went outside to the loo and that is the time when the accused attacked her, taking an advantage that she was alone in the dark.

The security guards then somehow appeared but Nzima misled them (security officers), saying that the woman was her girlfriend and that she took an advantage on him thereby tricking him to buy some drinks for her.

The guards believed his story and chased her from the tavern instead of rescuing her.

This situation enabled the accused to follow her up where he dragged her to a secluded area near the bushes and repeatedly raped her.

The lady tried to escape and found some people who driving in a certain vehicle.

She thought the men would be her rescuers but Nzima followed her. He then convinced those people who nearly helped her, saying that the lady was his girlfriend.

They then backed off and he remained with her again.

The lady’s arm was broken in the process during the violence that Nzima subjected her under as he dragged her once more back to the secluded area.

He then repeatedly raped her until the next day.

As if that was not enough, on 12 May 2017 the accused continued to prey on a certain woman who was 31-years old at that time. This woman used to sell some snacks for patrons at a certain tavern.

On that said day, as she went outside the tavern to relieve herself, two male suspects, including the accused grabbed her as well as assaulted her, using a certain object.

She then fell down and the two covered her head with a plastic bag and she fainted as a result.

Both the accused and his accomplice grabbed her to a secluded area where she later regained her consciousness.

The two men then raped her and then robbed her of her cell phone as well as the cash that she had.

The accomplice then left and the accused took her to an abandoned house near a railway line in the said area. 

He too raped her there until sunrise then fled the scene, leaving her behind.

The incident was reported to the police where a case was opened accordingly and the matter was investigated by the FCS unit in the area of Acornhoek.

The members worked hard in their probe where they managed to trace and arrest the accused near a tavern at Cottondale in October 2018.

He was charged and appeared before the Acornhoek Magistrate’s Court on one case but he was granted bail.

The team of investigators was relentless and continued to work around the clock where, through DNA they were able to link the accused to all four rape incidents.

He was then arrested, charged accordingly and was remanded in custody until he was eventually convicted on 22 February 2022 hence his sentence yesterday as follows:

On one count of rape, the accused was sentenced to life imprisonment.

On the other three counts of rape, the accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on each count.

Meanwhile on the count of robbery, the accused was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and on the count of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH), the accused was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

The court decided that all the rape sentence of 10 years runs concurrently with the robbery sentence of 7 years, making it 17 years.

Whilst the other rape sentence of 10 years will run concurrently with the assault GBH sentence of three years, which will be 13 years.

Meanwhile the remaining 10 years sentence will not run concurrently with the life sentence.

The court found the accused to be unfit to possess a firearm and his name will be entered into the national register of sexual offenders.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela further lamented at the trauma that women are subjected to under such violent men like the accused but was encouraged by the sentence that was imposed.

“We are in high spirits, as victims of Gender-Based-Violence will now sleep better with the knowledge that at least one rapist has been severely dealt with by the court.” commented The General.