The Johannesburg High Court has sentenced serial rapist Lucky Simelane who had been terrorising women in the East Rand area near here for four years to 384 years imprisonment.

The 33-year-old Simelane began his raping spree in 2010 until 2014. His victims, aged between 14 and 49 years, were raped in different areas including Alberton, Thokoza and Palm Ridge.

The serial rapist has been sentenced to more than 380 years in prison for several counts of rape with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking with intent to rob.

He was also found guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In handing down the sentence, Judge John Horn said for over a period of approximately four years, Simelane terrorized the inhabitants on the East Rand by kidnapping some of the female victims and brutally raping them.

The assaults included striking the victims with a firearm or with his bare hands, leaving them battered, bleeding and bruised.

The court said Simelane posed a real threat to society and the long period of incarceration should serve to safeguard the community against his conduct.

National Prosecuting Authorities (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Louw welcomed the sentence. "We believe that the sentence could not have come at a perfect time whereas state institutions we are busy advocating against violence against women and children. We believe it is sentencing like this which will encourage us as state institutions to do more. It also shows that we are in the right direction of reducing the scourge of violence against women and children through sentences like this. We believe that violent crimes will be reduced, which is our main aim."

Meanwhile, some of the victims said they would continue to seek counselling and hopefully, begin to heal, now that the rapist has been given a heavy sentence behind bars.