Life sentence for former KZN sheriff for repeatedly raping hostage ‘bride’
A 57-year-old former sheriff of a KwaZulu-Natal court, who married an 18-year-old woman against her will, only to keep her hostage for months while he repeatedly raped her, was convicted and sentenced in the Greytown regional court on Tuesday.
Zakhele Ndlovu was handed a life sentence (25 years) for rape and an additional 17 years for kidnapping and sexual assault, bringing to a close a three-year-long case which revealed how he used his position to terrify and abuse his “wife”.
According to police, Ndlovu had entered into an arranged marriage with an 18-year-old woman between February and July 2019.
The woman, who was residing with her aunt, as both of her parents were deceased, was forced to marry Ndlovu, who attended the same church.
Police spokesperson Const Thenjiswa Ngcobo said the aunt and the church elders had agreed to the union and the aunt accepted payment for the arrangement.
“She would allow the man to come to her house and have his way with the girl and when the girl complained she was reminded that traditionally she belonged to the man.”
Police said the woman attempted to kill herself on at least two occasions.
“She decided to run away from her aunt’s house, but the man was well connected. He hired two men to track down his victim. She was caught and taken to the accused’s house in Greytown, where she was expected to continue with her marital duties.
“He attempted to rape her and she fought back. When he realised that it was not going to be easy to overpower her, she was taken to Matimatolo, where she was handcuffed and raped repeatedly.”
Ngcobo said after being kept in a room for months and repeatedly raped, the community became suspicious when they heard her crying whenever Ndlovu was around.
“Police were alerted and they responded swiftly. The girl was rescued and charges of rape, sexual assault as well as kidnapping were opened. The matter was investigated by the Greytown family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.”
Ndlovu attempted to evade arrest but handed himself over to police on August 6 2019.
During his trial Ndlovu attempted to plead insanity, which could not be confirmed by a mental institution.
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