A 42-year-old inmate has been sentenced to direct life imprisonment for rape of another inmate.
Jeffrey Bona, who was already serving time for a previous offence at Mangaung Correctional Facility, was sentenced on Wednesday by the Bloemfontein regional court.
According to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane, the rape incident took place in 2021. Both inmates were serving time at the same facility.
Bona reportedly raped the victim on numerous occasions.
The victim alerted the prison authorities, and Bona was arrested and charged with the multiple rapes, according to Senokoatsane.
In aggravation of the sentence, the prosecution maintained that the court should not deviate from the suitable sentence of a life. This was because the accused had shown no remorse.
During the sentencing proceedings, the prosecution highlighted that Bona was already incarcerated when he committed the crime. It stated that it would be in the best interest of justice and society if he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The court found that there are no substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed life sentence. The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment for rape.
National Prosecuting Authority comment:
The NPA said Bona’s conviction and sentence confirmed their commitment to fight crime.
“The National Prosecuting Authority continues the fight against any form of crime. Whether committed by the public or persons already in prison. We will continue to prosecute without fear, favour, or prejudice,” Senokoatsane added.
Study on prison rapes
A study of sex and rape behind bars in South African prisons was done by the University of Pretoria. It says In South Africa, consensual sex between inmates is prohibited by the law. As such, inmates are therefore reluctant to report on such activities.
South Africans remain ill-informed about these crimes. It could be because law-abiding South Africans may not be concerned with what happens once a person is arrested and convicted, the study found.
Compounding this problem is the tendency of correctional authorities
to neglect to report on these sexual violations. In addition, various relationships may develop between men during their period of incarceration. These result in consensual sex.
Furthermore, the informal prison code of silence prohibits inmates from speaking about these crimes. Despite this “secrecy” and tendency of non-reporting
of sexual offences, the existence of these offences can no longer be ignored.