DNA samples taken from the 4-year-old boy who was allegedly raped by Lazarus Ntipa Nkoto, 40, on February 17, 2019, have been positively linked to two other reported cases of sexual assault.
It is a tragic case that highlights the importance of DNA testing in bringing rapists to justice.
On Tuesday, the Botshabelo Regional Court sentenced Nkoto to another life sentence following his conviction for raping the boy in addition to the two life sentences he was already serving for a similar crime.
Nkoto was working as a herdsman for the victim’s neighbour at the time. On October 24, 2017, he lured him to a field where cows and goats were grazing with the pretext that he needed some help.
The boy, claimed he was eight-years-old, when the alleged attacker penetrated him anally. He was threatened with death if he told anyone what had happened.
He repeated the act on a second victim, this time on a four-year-old, on October 27, 2017. However, when he told a neighbour about the occurrence that afternoon, the neighbour learned that the same thing had happened to his older sister’s son three days before.
In the third case, it is alleged Nkoto, a Lesotho national, was sitting in a local tavern in Botshabelo Township, outside Bloemfontein, when he noticed a little boy getting out of the yard across the street. He approached the boy and forced him into the toilet, where he raped him.
The victim’s mother caught Nkoto in the act and called the police, who then arrested him, according to Phaladi Shuping, spokesperson for the Free State National Prosecuting Authority.
DNA samples taken from Nkoto were linked to two different rape cases in Bloemfontein. The High Court sentenced Nkoto to two life sentence. Botshabelo’s case was heard separately,” said Shuping.
He denied being involved in the rape of the complainant even after DNA linked him to the crime.
In aggravation, the State Prosecutor, Patrick Koloane presented the victim impact statement facilitated by Melissa Mphulanyane.
In this statement, the victim’s mother said the incident had changed the little boy’s life.
She said he was experiencing nightmares and his performance at school had dropped.
Koloane described Nkoto as unrepentant for not taking the court into his confidence and for denying he raped the boy.
He [Prosecutor] said the victim’s mother had caught him in the act and that DNA evidence linked him to the crime. However, he denied being involved in it, showing no remorse.
“Because he failed to provide any compelling and substantial circumstances justifying a lesser sentence, the court should impose the minimum punishment prescribed by law,” said Koloane.
Magistrate Khuduga agreed with the prosecutor that the only appropriate sentence was life imprisonment.
She further instructed that Nkoto’s name should be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders.
The court also declared him unfit to possess a firearm.