A Limpopo bishop has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the Limpopo High Court in Thohoyandou for raping and impregnating his daughter.
The 65-year-old bishop of a local church in Tshilavulu village, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the daughter, pled guilty to the charge.
When handing down judgment in the High Court in Thohoyandou on Wednesday, Judge Khami Makhafola said that he had no option but to punish the man, as society and the bishop's church would expect the culprit to be punished.
Makhafola added that the bishop needed to pay for his sins and be rehabilitated. The only place he could be rehabilitated was in a correctional facility.
The state successfully argued that the bishop had abused his biological daughter for about four years.
It emerged during trial that the sexual abuse started in 2006, when the daughter was 12 years old, and came into limelight in 2010 when she fell pregnant.
The National Prosecuting Authority's provincial spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi had previously said that during the four-year ordeal, the bishop would take his daughter into the bush nearby under the pretext that there were dangers that would befall her, and then tell her that she needed "divine intervention".
The bishop would then sexually penetrate her, before asking her to wash herself clean.
Although he pled guilty, the bishop had told the court that he was "healing" his daughter.
In aggravation of sentencing, state prosecutor Ratshilumela Makhera said the bishop's actions could not be associated with Christianity and described them as "a high level of moral bankruptcy".
"What the man of cloth did was unChristian, morally bankrupt and a shame to the church he heads, and he needs to go to prison," said Makhera.