Hike sentence

Life sentence for pastor who abducted woman, held her captive for 8 months while raping her

A Free State pastor has been sentenced to life in prison for abducting a woman and holding her hostage for eight months while repeatedly raping her.

PHOTO: David Prado/Getty Images

  • A pastor from Viljoenskroon in the Free State has been sentenced to life imprisonment for holding a woman captive for eight months and raping her.
  • The woman had just buried her mother when she asked to be taken in by the Samson Choniswa office, who then abducted her, locked her up in his home and repeatedly raped her.
  • The woman escaped after Choniswa asked her to fetch food from her sister.

A Free State pastor has been sentenced to life imprisonment for abducting a woman who had just buried her mother and holding her hostage for eight months, while repeatedly raping her.

Viljoenskroon Magistrate’s Court on Monday convicted Office Samson Choniswa, 40, of rape, kidnapping, robbery and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

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The charges stem from an incident on August 31, 2020, when the 50-year-old was at a hiking spot trying to get transported to Johannesburg after burying her mother.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Phaladi Shuping said Choniswa told the woman he could arrange transport, but they would have to go to his house first, where he could do it.

The woman then agreed, Shuping said. When they arrived home, Choniswa said he wanted her to be his wife, but the wife refused.

Shuping added:

Choniswa refused to let her go and kept her in the house for eight months against her will. He raped her several times and even assaulted her, took her phone and R1,800.

On March 11, 2021, the woman escaped after Choniswa asked her to fetch food from her sister, Shuping added.

He said the woman took refuge with a neighbor until the following day when she went to Potchefstroom police station in the North West to report the matter.

When asked why the woman opened a case in the North West and not in the Free State, Shuping said the pastor told her that all the police officers in Viljoenskroon knew him and none of them wouldn’t help her open a case against him.

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“The woman is from Johannesburg and only went to Viljoenskroon for the funeral of her mother, who stayed there.

“She trusted the pastor because he had helped the family with the funeral, so she had no idea when he told her to accompany him to his house because he would arrange with someone to take her. in Joburg,” Shuping said.

During his trial, Choniswa denied raping the woman and claimed that the sexual acts were consensual, adding that the woman went to him to ask her to be his wife.

According to Shuping, prosecutor Siphokazi Tunzi told the court that the injuries sustained by the woman indicated that she had been detained against her will.

“In increasing the sentence, Tunzi told the court that the defendant had not demonstrated the existence of substantial and compelling circumstances justifying the imposition of a lesser sentence and asked the court to sentence Choniswa to the life imprisonment for rape,” Shuping said.

Choniswa was sentenced to life imprisonment for rape, five years for kidnapping, four years for robbery and five years for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The sentences will be executed simultaneously.