Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A 21-YEAR-OLD Maphisa man has been jailed 18 years for raping his cousin.

The man who cannot be named for ethical reasons pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mrs Sibonginkosi Mkandla facing a rape charge but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.

He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and three years were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years. He will serve an effective 15-year jail term.

Prosecuting, Mr Khumbulani Nyoni said the man raped his cousin who is 13 years in 2017 while she was 10-years-old.

“On a date unknown to the prosecutor in 2017 the complainant was at home with the accused person when he approached her and told her that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. The complainant refused and threatened to report the accused person to her maternal grandmother who is also the accused person’s mother,” said Mr Nyoni.

“The accused person dragged the complainant into his bedroom and locked the door from the inside. The complainant tried to scream but he covered her mouth with his hand and raped her. He warned the complainant against revealing the matter to anyone. The complainant reported the matter to her grandmother who promised to inform the complainant’s mother but didn’t.”

Mr Nyoni said in 2018 the complainant moved and went to stay with her father and step mother.

He said sometime in January this year the complainant started having her menstrual cycle and her stepfather was concerned that it had happened early.

Mr Nyoni said the complainant’s stepmother then asked the juvenile whether she had slept with any man and the complainant narrated what the accused had done to her.

The matter was reported to the police resulting in the arrest of the accused person.

In his defense the accused person said he had never had sexual intercourse with the complainant. He accused the complainant and her parents of fabricating the allegations against him just to fix him.