By Alvin Andrews
A South African court sentenced a man to two life terms on Friday for the rape, mutilation and murder of a teenager in a case that shocked a nation with one of the world’s highest levels of violent crime.
Johannes Kana confessed to raping 17-year-old Anene Booysen before she was dumped at a building site in Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town, in February. She had been beaten and her stomach was slit open down to her genitals.
The attack came shortly after the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus at the end of 2012 that caused outcry and mass protests in India at endemic violence against women.
Booysen’s murder sparked some of the biggest anti-rape campaigns in years in South Africa, with President Jacob Zuma expressing “shock and outrage” and calling for the harshest possible sentences for her attackers.
Three suspects were initially arrested but only 21-year-old Kana stood trial. He confessed to raping Booysen but denied disembowelling her.
The sentencing was met by muted clapping from Booysen’s relatives and sobs from Kana supporters in the public gallery.
There are about 180 reported rapes a day in South Africa, a nation of 53 million people, although the real total is believed to be far higher. Few suspects are ever arrested and only 12 percent of cases brought to court end in conviction.