Radebe welcomes 'ukuthwala' sentence

Mvumeleni Jezile was sentenced to 22 years in prison for rape, human trafficking and assault.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Friday welcomed the 22-year sentence handed down to a convicted rapist.

He also condemned the African custom of abducting young women called ukuthwala.

Mvumeleni Jezile was found guilty on three counts of rape, one of human trafficking and another of assault.

He was sentenced in Cape Town on Thursday.

In 2011, Jezile abducted a 14-year-old Eastern Cape girl and forced her to marry and have sex with him, as part of the cultural practice.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Nathi Mncube says the 22-year sentence is the harshest in South African history where _ukuthwala _has been used as a defence.

"We welcome the sentence. We were pushing for a harsher sentence. We wanted life imprisonment because we view the offence that was committed against the minor victim as very serious."