The Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court has sentenced self-proclaimed prophet Erick Zwane to two life terms for raping two underage girls.
According to the National Prosecutor (NPA), the two girls were 14 and 15 years old at the time of the incident.
The 28-year-old self-proclaimed prophet was initially charged with three rapes, but was acquitted for one rape of an 18-year-old woman. All victims come from the same neighborhood as Zwane in Soshanguve, Pretoria.
The two underage girls, who were friends, consulted with the Prophet on several occasions in 2018.
“They were given a drink that made them dizzy, after which he asked them to undress so they could steam. While steaming, he raped them and threatened to kill them with muti if they told anyone about the incident,” NPA’s Lumka Mahanjana said in a statement Monday.
In February 2019, the mother of one of the girls went for a consultation with another prophet, who told her that her child had been raped by Zwane.
“The mother confronted the child, who confessed and also told her about her boyfriend. The victims’ parents went to Zwane’s house in an attempt to confront him. He saw local residents from a distance in his yard and fled for 6 months, but later returned and surrendered to police on September 25, 2019. He was arrested and detained.”
The Prophet pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him, but the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that Zwane had indeed committed the crimes of which he was accused.
In his argument, prosecutor Sifiso Hlongwane argued that “there can be no greater crime than depriving a child of her innocence, especially a vulnerable child”.
He further reminded the court that based on one of the victim statements at the time of the incident, one of the victims was a virgin and Zwane took that pride from her.
In addition, he asked the court not to ignore the fact that the country has a high level of gender-based violence (GBV) against children and women, therefore the court should impose a life sentence.
“The NPA is committed to fighting the scourge of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) against children and women in our communities and we appreciate the work of the South African Police Service (SAPS) investigative team investigating this matter.”