The youngest victim of convicted rapist Sello Abram Mapunya has spoken of the continued trauma she faced, even years after he raped her.
Several of his victims were present at the High Court in Pretoria, where Mapunya was sentenced to 1 088 years behind bars for his reign of terror, which began in 2014 and eventually ended in 2019, when he was arrested.
Refilwe Selamolela, now aged 19, was only 14 when Mapunya raped her in Olievenhoutbosch. She had been walking with a friend at the time.
“I want to ask men out there to stop hurting us and ask them to protect us, love us and provide for us and our children. For so many years I have suffered, crying every time I hear of another woman who has been raped,” Selamolela said.
“Today, I just thank God and the justice system for bringing this man down, for sending him away to jail for the rest of his life.”
Judge to Mapunya: ‘Women’s bodies are not commodities’
On Wednesday, Judge Papi Mosopa found Sello Abram Mapunya guilty of rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and house-breaking. He attacked women in several Pretoria areas like Atteridgeville, Nellmapius, Silverton, Mamelodi and Olievenhoutbosch.
When he handed down sentence on Thursday, 27 May 2021, Judge Papi Mosopa described Mapunya’s deeds as evil and said the sentence should serve as a lesson to those who commit similar acts.
“The sentence I am imposing will show others that women’s bodies are not commodities and cannot be abused with impunity. These sentences will not run concurrently because they were not committed at the same time. They occurred separately over five years, therefore you will be sentenced for every crime you committed separately”
Judge Papi Mosopa
Sergeant Catherine Tladi, who led efforts to catch Mapunya and is herself a rape survivor, said the sentence was a victory for women and children.
“This sentence will help restore society’s trust in the law and show society that there is justice. Rape victims remain uncovered until justice is done. Only when justice is done are they then able to cover themselves. Today these survivors’ nakedness has been closed,” Tladi said.
“We thank God, the justice system and prosecutor advocate Pieter Coetzer that the truth of what happened has been learnt”