A North West man has been slapped with five life terms and 191 years for 18 counts of rape, 23 of robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft of a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Johannes Nokeri, 28, was sentenced at the High Court of South Africa North West Division, sitting in the Temba Regional Court for the crimes that were committed between 2012 and 2016.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Shane Kgoele said Nokeri had not shown remorse for the crimes that he had committed.

According to the North West National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Henry Mamothame, Nokeri's reign of terror began in 2012 where women were raped and robbed.

Mamothame said Nokeri embarked on a series of rapes, robberies and theft in the areas around Hammanskraal and Temba.

However, he was never caught. 

After four years of eluding police, Mamothame said Nokeri was eventually arrested on 16 July 2016 in possession of a stolen vehicle and for two rapes that he had committed the previous day.

In that incident, he had found two women with a man. He raped the women and had stolen the car. A tracking company led police to where the car was and Nokeri was also found in possession of six live rounds of ammunition.

Nokeri was given 10 years each for the crime and the sentences were to run concurrently.

However, it was while he was serving time for the two rapes and theft of a vehicle, that DNA linked him to the other crimes that had been committed from 2012 in which many women were raped.

He said: "He mostly targeted unsuspecting women who would be travelling from taverns at night in the early hours of the morning and rob them of their money, cellphones and clothing items before raping some of them. One of the victims was five months pregnant when she was repeatedly raped by Nokeri."

"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 was then freshly charged and stood trial.

During arguments in aggravation of sentence, prosecutor, advocate Mashudu Muliwa, urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and to also further consider the victim impact statements which depicted "the suffering and the eroded dignity of the victims at the hands of Nokeri".

The judge also raised concern about Nokeri's "remorseless behaviour" and his lack or respect for women and slapped him with five life terms and 191 years for 18 counts of rape, 23 of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Mamothame said Nokeri 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." 

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo, welcomed the conviction and lauded Muliwa and Sergeant Moloantoa Rapakgadi for a collaborative effort that resulted in a successful conviction.