MASERU –– A 21-year-old shepherd from Ha-Mofumotse in Morija, 40km south of the capital, will live to regret the day he couldn’t keep his lust in check.
Moeketsi Khoabane will have to spend the next seven years in prison after the Maseru Magistrates’ Court found him guilty of raping a minor and assaulting the victim’s mother.
The court heard how on the night of January 8 2008 Khoabane abducted a 13-year-old girl from a house at Ha-Mofumotse village and force-marched her to a nearby kraal.
He stripped her naked, unzipped and lowered his trousers then raped her, the court was told.
Khoabane did not use a condom.
Tests conducted after the rape case was reported however returned a negative result for HIV or any other sexually transmitted disease.
Khoabane claimed in court that the underage girl had consented to sexual intercourse.
He said they had arranged with the victim that he would “pick her” from her neighbour’s home.
However, the victim denied Khoabane’s claims.
Public prosecutor Mojabeng Binns said the law is explicit that a girl under 16 years of age cannot consent to sexual activity.
Soon after she was raped, the court heard, the girl reported to her mother what had happened.
They took up the case with the area chief who advised them to report to the police.
However, Khoabane was arrested seven months later – only after committing another crime.
When the mother confronted Khoabane on August 23 2008 over her daughter’s sexual assault report, she was not prepared for what came her way.
Khoabane flogged the victim’s mother with his lebetlela, a traditional stick that Basotho men carry.
He claimed he had not noticed the identity of the person he lashed because it was dark.
He said he was acting in self-defence after noticing someone “naked” trying to attack him.
“I wanted to know from him if it was true that he had raped the young girl but he did not answer me . . . (instead) he lashed me with his lebetlela,” the victim’s mother said.
As a policy, this paper cannot reveal the mother’s name to protect the identity of the victim who is a minor.
“The accused did not deny ever assaulting (the mother) and said he did not know who he was hitting,” Binns told the court.
“He did not deny being at the place . . . where he had no control to merit assaulting anybody.
“The act of assaulting (the mother) and not being able to ask for forgiveness shows intention as he cannot say he did not understand what he was doing.”
Khoabane also showed violent tendencies when the police finally arrested him on August 23 2008.
He tried to resist arrest and the police struggled to restrain him.
“I was on duty with Trooper Thekiso Mphanya on an investigation to arrest and detain Moeketsi Khoabane who was a suspect in a sexual offence case which he was alleged to have committed on a little girl at Morija,” Lintle Moqoko, a police officer at Morija Police Station, told the court.
“We found him in the pastureland herding cattle and overpowered him (but he tried) to resist arrest by fighting Trooper Mphanya.”
Khoabane was found guilty of both the rape and assault charges.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison in the rape case.
For the assault, he was slapped with a one-year jail sentence or M1 000 fine.
Both sentences would however run concurrently.
In passing sentence on Thursday, Magistrate Mampho Mokoena said the accused needed to be taught a lesson that women and young children deserve to be protected and respected.