The landmark 2014 judgment that sent a wealthy Mpumalanga timber tycoon, Lloyd Mabuza, to prison for eight life terms, has been upheld by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the court dismissed his appeal to have the conviction overturned.
This sentence is the harshest sentence ever handed down for human trafficking in South Africa and marked the culmination of a two-year long trial that highlighted the sordid side of cross-border human trafficking of underage Mozambican nationals for sexual exploitation.
Described as a sexual predator who preyed on and abused underage girls, Mabuza, 65, of White River, was found guilty on multiple counts of rape, human trafficking and sexual slavery, and sentenced in to eight life terms November 2014.
The girls between 10 and 16 testified how Mabuza repeatedly raped them and left them without food and locked up, holding a firearm to their heads if they did not comply to his sexual demands. The half-starved girls lived in squalor. Mabuza’s female co-accused, Violet Chauke, 26, a Mozambican national, was convicted of trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and handed over to Home Affairs officials for deportation back to Mozambique.
Advocate Isabeet Erwee of the Mpumalanga Directorate of Public Prosecutions was lauded “for her relentless fight for justice for the young girl victims.”
Erwee successfully prosecuted this matter in the Regional Court and argued against the appeal in the High Court. It is seen as the greatest victory for the innocent girls who endured untold sexual exploitation at the hands of men such as Mabuza. It was a collaboration between the National Prosecution Authority, (NPA), the Police, DSD, DOJ&CD and the Office Of The Attorney General in Mozambique.