Sun. May 19th, 2024

The Mkhondo Regional Court in Mpumalanga has handed down a 10-year prison term to Petrus Daniel Swart, aged 51, for raping his domestic worker in 2014.

According to Monica Nyuswa, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Mpumalanga, the appalling incident occurred on a farm in Piet Retief.

“On March 5, 2014, while the victim was carrying out chores in the Swart family household and the accused’s wife was away taking their children to school, the accused suddenly assaulted the victim,” Nyuswa detailed.

Despite the domestic worker’s attempts to resist, Swart overpowered her and proceeded to rape her in his residence.

“A short while later, the accused’s wife returned home and found the victim in distress. Upon inquiry, the victim disclosed the ordeal to her,” Nyuswa explained.

The matter was reported to the police, leading to Swart’s arrest.

“During a protracted trial, the accused refuted the allegations against him. The State presented evidence from the victim. However, the defence prolonged the trial by disputing forensic evidence related to the accused’s blood samples,” Nyuswa elaborated.

Subsequently, the case was referred to the high court for review, resulting in the order for new DNA samples to be collected.

“The DNA analysis conclusively linked the accused to the crime. The case was then remanded back to the trial court, where the accused was found guilty as charged,” Nyuswa stated.

Prosecutor advocate Marlin Cairncross presented the victim’s impact statement during the trial, illustrating the profound effect of the rape on her life.

Cairncross argued that the accused failed to demonstrate any substantial mitigating circumstances justifying a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence.

“The court concurred with the State’s stance, considering the interests of society, the severity of the offense, and the impact on the victim as outweighing the personal circumstances of the accused,” Nyuswa affirmed.

Swart received an effective 10-year prison sentence. The defence filed an application for leave to appeal the conviction, which the State opposed.

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, the 47-year-old victim, whose identity remains undisclosed, expressed her difficulty in forgiving Swart.

“It’s hard to forgive someone who goes to prison without admitting his wrongdoing. Since his initial arrest, he has denied everything, claiming innocence. I believe now I need to forgive myself, as he is behind bars and I can move forward with my life,” she tearfully shared.

Activists criticized Swart’s sentence, considering it too lenient.

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