The High Court of South Africa North West Division, sitting in the Temba Regional Court sentenced Johannes Nokeri to five life terms, a combined 191 years on 18 counts of rape, 23 counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft of a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
From 2012 to 2017, Nokeri embarked on a series of rapes, robberies and theft in the areas around Hammanskraal and Temba in the North West Province. He mostly targeted unsuspecting women who would be travelling from taverns at night in the early hours of the morning and rob their money, cellphone and clothing items before raping some of them. One of the victims was 5 months pregnant when she was repeatedly raped by Nokeri.
He was eventually arrested after five years, on 16 July 2017 in possession of a stolen vehicle that the owner had reported to the police and the tracking company a day before his arrest. Six live rounds of ammunition were also found in his possession.
During court proceedings, it emerged that in some of these offences, he was accompanied by an individual unknown to the state. Nokeri was previously afforded three Legal Aid attorneys and one private attorney sourced by Legal Aid but he fired them and opted to represent himself throughout the trial.
In committing these crimes, it was established that he applied the same modus operandi, by threatening his victims with violence if they fail to abide by his orders. In some of the rape charges, the state relied on DNA results that linked him to the commissioning of these offences. Two of the victims testified in court and alluded to Nokeri’s aggressive behaviour when he raped and robbed them.
Nokeri has two previous convictions on two charges of rape and one of robbery. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment to which he has now served three years. In aggravation of sentence, Advocate Mashudu Muliwa urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and to further consider the Victim Impact statements, which depicts the suffering and the eroded dignity of the victims in the hands of Nokeri. He also raised concern about Nokeri’ s remorseless behaviour. Judge Shane Kgoele shared the same sentiments by the state.
She described Nokeri as an individual who has no respect for women and further alluded to the responsibility that the court has in protecting communities against the likes of Nokeri. She referred to the conviction as a way of sending a strong message to perpetrators of such crimes.
The accused applied for leave to appeal the conviction and sentencing and the court granted him a hearing. He however later withdrew it and indicated that he will, however, submit a written application after receiving court transcripts.
The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Dr Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo welcomed the conviction and lauded Advocate Mashudu Muliwa and Sergeant Moloantoa Rapakgadi for a collaborative effort that resulted in a successful conviction.