Thandeka Moyo Court Reporter
A 34-year-old-Old Pumula man dubbed “every woman’s nightmare” for numerous crimes of aggravated rape he committed will ‘‘spend’’ the next 97 years in prison. Vusumuzi Sibanda, a father of three was convicted of more than 15 counts of rape, robbery and unlawful entry when he appeared before three different courts at Tredgold in Bulawayo.
Sibanda raped his victims in Kingsdale, North End, Pumula and Paddonhurst.
Among the four victims he raped and robbed in Kingsdale, one was a school pupil, another a heavily pregnant woman and the other fled naked through a bedroom window to seek refuge at her neighbours’.
The fourth victim, aged 39 was brave enough to give chase after Sibanda, who after robbing her, undressed her and conducted a “vagina inspection” but did not rape her.
Sentencing Sibanda yesterday, senior regional magistrate Mark Dzira condemned the criminal as ruthless beyond redemption.
“It’s common cause that you appeared in different courts facing the same charges, aggravatory crimes committed on women, some married. You’re therefore sentenced to an effective 78 years and a half in prison of which nothing will be suspended,” said magistrate Dzira.
He said since Sibanda was sentenced to 19 effective years in another regional court, only 15 of the 78 years would run concurrently.
“There’s nothing as degrading for a man as having someone rape your wife or daughter. You also used an okapi knife in all these instances which proves the actual intent and thus the court can’t tolerate such,” said Dzira.
The magistrate bemoaned the alarming increase of rape cases and said criminals like Sibanda deserved lengthy sentences as they were a danger to society.
In mitigation, Sibanda told the court that he deserved a non-custodial sentence as he was already serving a lengthy jail term.
“In coming up with sentence please consider that I need to serve and go see my children while I’m still alive. Police said I committed these crimes so as to clear their backlog and I plead with the court to ensure that I serve and go see my children,” he said.
The state led by Tinashe Dzipe however prayed that the court consider that all crimes were committed in aggravating circumstances.
Dzipe read out a long list of Sibanda’s crimes.
Included on the list, was the January 15, rape of a girl, 14.
She was on her way from school, walking along the railway line which links Queens Park and Mahatshula suburbs when Sibanda pounced on her.
He produced a knife from his pocket and dragged her to a nearby bush before forcing her to undress with the knife placed on her throat.
The girl complied and he raped her once without protection.
On January 20, 2014, Sibanda unlawfully entered a house in Queens Park and struck the woman he found with a stone on her forehead.
He also cut her with a knife once on the right hand and dragged her to her bedroom.
He then took her cellphone and raped her at knife point without protection.
Sibanda continued haunting women and on May 13 at 9AM, he met a heavily pregnant woman who was pushing a wheelbarrow along a pathway linking Queens Park and Kingsdale.
He produced an Okapi knife and demanded valuables and took the woman’s cellphone.
He then grabbed her with one of her hands, pushed her off the footpath for about 30 metres and forced her to lie down facing upward. He raped her still holding the knife and went away.
On May 20 at 1PM, Sibanda went to another house in Kingsdale and unlawfully entered through a door which was not locked and proceeded to the kitchen where he found one of his victims.
He demanded money and the woman told him that she only had $1.
Sibanda searched the house and took $9 and ordered the woman’s three-year-old daughter to give him three cellphones.
He also took a laptop which he packed in a black satchel and 2kg chicken. Sibanda then assaulted the woman with a slasher and ordered her to undress and she complied.
The woman was then locked inside the house and Sibanda fled. However, she escaped naked and raised the alarm.
Sibanda ran out of luck when he immediately proceeded to a house nearby where he also unlawfully entered and robbed the woman at knife point. Before trying to leave, he forced the woman to undress and “inspected” her vagina before attempting to flee. Police arrested him in the house.
Three of his victims identifed Sibanda at a police identification parade held at Bulawayo Central Police Station.