The South African Police Service (SAPS) has successfully brought down a ruthless serial rapist who used Facebook to target and exploit young women. Khululekani Justin Ngqeza, aged 36, has been handed multiple life terms and an additional 280 years imprisonment by the Makhanda High Court for his heinous crimes.
Investigative Work and Commendation by Provincial Commissioner
Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene, the Provincial Commissioner of Eastern Cape, commended the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit for their tireless efforts in ensuring that the remorseless rapist remains behind bars for life.
Sinister Plot through Facebook
Ngqeza’s sinister plot began in 2019 and continued until his arrest in May 2020. During this period, he lured 10 female victims, aged between 15 and 21, by promising them lucrative modelling careers through his Facebook page. He would arrange to meet these unsuspecting victims in secluded areas or B&Bs, where he would force them to pay for photographs and then brutally rape them.
Arrest and Additional Victims Come Forward
Fortunately, Ngqeza’s wicked ways came to an end in May 2020 when his last victim alerted the police. A well-coordinated effort by law enforcement led to his arrest at the Kei Bridge on 19 May 2020. Since then, six additional victims have come forward and filed cases against him.
Guilty Verdict and Sentencing
On 6 February 2023, Ngqeza was found guilty on charges ranging from rape to trafficking in persons. The court’s decision to impose multiple life sentences and additional imprisonment reflects the gravity of his crimes.
Commitment to Combatting Gender-Based Violence
Lt Gen Mene expressed her belief that such lengthy sentences serve as a beacon of hope for victims, demonstrating that justice can indeed prevail and that the terrible cycle of violence against women and children can be broken. She praised the efforts of the investigating officer and emphasized the SAPS’s commitment to combatting gender-based violence in all its forms.
Dangers of Social Media and Importance of Awareness
This case highlights the ever-present dangers lurking on social media platforms and serves as a reminder to remain vigilant in our digital lives. As the prevalence of social media continues to grow, it is increasingly important for users to be aware of potential risks and to take precautions when interacting with strangers online.
Support for Victims and Potential for Justice
The successful apprehension, prosecution, and sentencing of Ngqeza demonstrate the dedication and determination of law enforcement officers in South Africa to combat gender-based violence and protect the rights and lives of women and children. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of supporting and encouraging victims of violence to come forward and seek justice.
The resolution of this appalling case reflects the unwavering determination of law enforcement officers to protect and deliver justice for victims of heinous crimes. While this case may be a small victory in the larger battle against gender-based violence, it serves as a powerful example of the potential for justice and healing for victims, and a warning to would-be perpetrators that their actions will not go unpunished.