Victims of serial rapist Sello Abram Mapunya cheered in court when he was given one of South Africa’s longest-ever sentences, following a reign of terror that lasted more than four years.

Some cried and hugged each other in Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Thursday when Judge Papi Mosopa handed down the 1,088-year term.

Mapunya, 33, was given five life terms as well as 988 years imprisonment for the rape and robbery of 56 women between December 2014 and March 2019, when he was arrested.

He committed the crimes while he lived with his girlfriend, 8-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in Pretoria.

The court ordered that the sentence imposed should not run concurrently as the crimes were committed in various townships over a five-year period.

He had earlier found Maponya guilty of 41 rapes, 40 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and 40 counts of housebreaking.

Mosopa handed down his verdict after Mapunya pleaded guilty on Monday at the start of his trial. He said Mapunya had attacked his victims, several of whom he raped multiple times, while armed with a firearm, hammer or screwdriver.His youngest victim, who lived in Olievenhoutbosch, was 14.

“The heinousness of the crimes could not be disputed. One of the victims was 14 years old when she was attacked and raped. She was walking in the street with a friend, when she endured an unbearable trauma.

“The victims endured untold trauma when He broke into their homes between 2am and 4am and attacked them. They were raped in  places where they thought they would be safe”.You are not the type of person who is ready to live side by side with others in peace,” Judge Masopa told the court. 

“You are determined to infringe on the dignity of others by raping them in a barbaric manner.” says judge.

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