Landmark human trafficking, sexual slavery judgment upheld

The landmark 2014 judgment that sent a wealthy Mpumalanga timber tycoon, Lloyd Mabuza, to prison for eight life terms, has been upheld by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the court dismissed his appeal to have the conviction overturned on Thursday.

The landmark sentence was the harshest sentence ever handed down for human trafficking in South Africa and marked the culmination of a two-year long trial that highlighted the sordid side of cross-border human trafficking of underage Mozambican nationals for sexual exploitation.

Described as a sexual predator who preyed on and abused underage girls, Mabuza, 65, of White River, was found guilty on multiple counts of rape, human trafficking and sexual slavery, and sentenced in to eight life terms November 2014.

Monica Nyuswa, spokesperson for the Mpumalanga DPP, said Mabuza had noted an appeal only in respect of his conviction, and the dismissal thereof by the High Court on Thursday “means that he would serve his eight life terms in prison”.

Giving evidence in the 2014 trial, five young girls testified they had been trafficked from Mozambique to South Africa for sexual purposes in 2009.


Threats

They said they have been lured to SA under false pretences by a Mozambican woman who had promised them the opportunity of a better life and school education in South Africa.

The girls’ shocking testimonies revealed vivid descriptions of Mabuza’s bedroom and en-suite bathroom, where they said he raped them.

Should they not follow his instructions, Mabuza threatened them with a firearm. When they had refused to go to Mabuza, they were threatened with abandonment and left for days without food.

Aged between 10 and 16, they were eventually rescued in 2012 after the SAPS found the children half-starved and living in appalling conditions, locked up in a compound at a remote Rhenosterhoek lumberjack village near Sabie.

Mabuza’s co-accused, Violet Chauke, 26, a Mozambican national, was convicted of trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and handed over to Home Affairs officials for deportation back to Mozambique.

In her defence, Chauke stated she herself was also brought to South Africa under false pretences by her sister Juliet, and that Mabuza had raped her when she was only 12.

On Friday, Victor Mafolo, head of the Mpumalanga Anti-Trafficking Task Team, lauded the efforts of Advocate Isabeet Erwee of the Mpumalanga Directorate of Public Prosecutions “for her relentless fight for justice for the young girl victims.

“She successfully prosecuted this matter in the Regional Court and argued against the appeal in the High Court. It’s the greatest victory for the innocent girls who endured untold sexual exploitation at the hands of Mabuza.

“The success of this matter was as a result of the collaborative efforts between the Prosecution (NPA), the Police, DSD, DOJ&CD, The Office Of The Attorney General in Mozambique and other key stakeholders, led by the Provincial Anti-Trafficking Task Team,” Mafolo said. – News24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Third time lucky: Will Mozambique’s peace deal last?

It’s been a year since Frelimo and Renamo signed the Maputo Accord. This time, the peace might just hold

Mozambique needs an intervention – but SADC must not rush in blindly

Military intervention in Cabo Delgado must be aimed at protecting people first

The SADC will regret its approach to Mozambique’s insurgence

The SADC has been lackadaisical in its response to the insurgency in Mozambique and in so doing, is putting several other southern African countries at risk

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

‘Athlete A’ exposes the ‘cruelty’ of the elite gymnastics machine

The Netflix documentary explores the system that created the conditions for decades of abuse

The pandemic has shifted patterns of conflict in Africa

Although the overall rate of conflict has remained steady in Africa during the past 10 weeks of the pandemic, the nature of this is changing in subtle but significant ways
Advertising

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday