#minorsextrafficking | Man, 2 woman jailed for 80 years collectively for rape and assault of trafficked teen

  • A man, his mother and the aunt of a teenage victim have been sentenced to 80 years in prison, collectively, after the aunt married her off to the man. 
  • The aunt of the minor trafficked her niece from Mount Fletcher after her father died and married her off to Malibongwe Gudwana in December 2011. 
  • On the night Gudwana met the victim, he told her he had paid for her father‘s funeral and therefore demanded sex, beat her up, undressed and raped her.

A man, his mother and the aunt of a teenager have been sentenced to 80 years in prison, collectively, after the aunt married her niece off to the man.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the aunt of the then-14-year-old, who was not named to protect her, had trafficked her niece from Mount Fletcher after her father died. 

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said in a statement on Wednesday following arrangements, the teenager was married off to Malibongwe Gudwana in December 2011. 

“The 14-year-old girl was trafficked from Mount Fletcher in December 2011. After losing her father, her aunt badly treated the girl and told her that she was sending her to Gudwana in Cape Town who was looking for a wife,” the prosecutor, senior state advocate Maria Marshall, said during the court ruling. 

Ntabazalila said on 21 December 2011, the aunt packed the girl’s clothes in a bag and went to a neighbour to borrow ixakatho, a small blanket worn by newly wedded women.  The girl protested she did not want to go to Cape Town and she was too young to be married.

On 22 December 2011, the aunt put her in a taxi, instructed the taxi driver not to let her off except in Philippi and gave the driver Gudwana’s cellphone number. 

READ | Another Eastern Cape teen rescued from a forced marriage

When the teenager arrived in Philippi in the early hours of 23 December 2011, she met Gudwana and his mother at the taxi rank.

After they arrived at their house, the mother pointed out his bedroom and told the girl she would sleep with her son. She told the girl it was an arranged marriage.

Following the girl’s protests that she did not want to be married, Gudwana told her he had paid for her father’s funeral.

That evening and during the period between December 2011 and January 2012, he demanded sex, beat her, undressed and raped her. The girl managed to persuade them to allow her to register at a school in Philippi.

Ntabazalila said this was where she reported her trauma and suffering to the school at the end of January 2012, and was taken to a safe house where the case was reported to the police. 

Sentence welcomed

“The Wynberg Magistrate’s Court sentenced the man, his mother and aunt of his victim on charges of a rape and human trafficking to a collective 80 years’ imprisonment,” Ntabazalila said. 

Gudwana was convicted of rape, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.  

ALSO READ | On paper, SA’s record on trafficking is good but the reality is underdelivery

He was sentenced to 55 years’ imprisonment – 25 years for rape, 25 for human trafficking, three for kidnapping and two for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.  

His mother, Thandiwe Gudwana, was convicted of human trafficking and kidnapping. She was sentenced to 10 years for human trafficking and three years for kidnapping. 

The aunt was convicted of human trafficking and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. 

The NPA welcomed the sentence, saying it reinforced its commitment in the fight against rising crimes against children who were trafficked under the guise of ukuthwala.


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