Sibusiso Matshaya has been sentenced to five life terms and an additional 25 years for raping four school girls and two women in and around Vereeniging in the Vaal.

Matshaya, who is dubbed the Vereeniging serial rapist, appeared in the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge east of Johannesburg.

The court also ordered that Matshaya’s name be added to the sexual offenders’ register.

Between 2016 and 2019, Matshaya would wait in an open veld and target women and young girls walking alone.

He accosted them, threatened them with a firearm or a knife and would drag them into the bush before raping them.

Members of the public cheered when the judge was handing down judgment, with other crying tears of joy.

One of the victims’ parents Duduzile Nkabinde says: “I’m very grateful for the support. I wish this verdict could also happen to other victims. I would like to thank this court and the police officer responsible for this case.

Nkaninde says she hopes to see this sort of victory for those who are victims of gender-based violence as well.

DNA evidence linked Matshaya to crimes

During his trial, the state told the court that it had evidence linking Matshaya to all the rape incidents.

State Prosecutor Dorah Ngobeni said a piece of tissue paper found at the alleged rape scene of a woman who was attacked while on her way to work, was linked to Matshaya.

Matshaya maintained his innocence throughout the trial, claiming that the victims were his girlfriends and that they had consensual sex.

Victims recounted ordeal

During one of his court appearances, one of Matshaya’s victims testified how he took turns raping her and her friends at an open veld.

She said the Matshaya would threaten them with a knife and order them not to make any noise.

She said he also inserted his fingers in their private parts.

The 15-year-old learner said the ordeal left all of them traumatised and were unable to continue writing the remainder of their exams.

She testified how the rape incident led to her school performance dropping drastically and continuously having flashbacks of the incident.

-Additional reporting by Tshepo Phagane