As South Africans celebrate the Johannesburg High Court’s decision to sentence convicted paedophile, Gerhard Ackerman, to 12 life terms – NGO, Tears Foundation, says the ring he operated with must also be brought to book.
The foundation’s Interventions Team Supervisor, Kavya Swaminathan, says while the court’s decision is welcomed, there is still more work to be done.
Ackerman was sentenced to 12 life terms for more than 700 charges including those of rape, attempted murder, and child trafficking.
The 52-year-old ran a sex abuse ring, which fronted as a massage parlour in Johannesburg.
Swaminathan says considering how the courts have repeatedly come under fire for not prosecuting other child abusers, the verdict is refreshing.
Last month, a psychologist report was presented in court, and it revealed that Ackerman has a paedophilic disorder, meaning it’s highly unlikely that he will ever be rehabilitated.
In April this year, the 52-year-old was convicted on charges of rape, human trafficking, and the unlawful possession, creation, and distribution of child pornography.
Ackerman was also found guilty of attempted murder for letting one of his HIV-positive clients, who was a well-known senior advocate and acting High Court judge Paul Kennedy, sleep with the young boys who worked for him.
Kennedy took his own life last year while out on a bail, a year before the trial got underway.
NGO Childline SA Director, Joan van Nieker, says the damage that the crimes Ackerman committed have far-reaching consequences for victims.
In an unexpected turn of events, Ackerman fired his lawyer, and asked for a retrial.
He has requested that he be given six weeks to file his papers.
Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa