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Johannesburg - A 27-year-old Limpopo man has been given three life sentences and 105 years in prison for killing three people, including a police officer.

The Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday found Kgotlelelo Mogadima and his five accomplices, among them his younger brother Pontsho, 25, guilty on three counts of murder. The group was also found guilty of attempted murder.

The court also found them guilty on six counts of armed robbery, three of car hijacking and two of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the convicted murderers were residents of Motetema township in the Sekhukhune district.

They killed Hendrick Selatole, a security guard at Mmotwaneng clinic, and stole his two cellphones.

Mulaudzi said the group later shot dead Marcus Chenga at Sterkfontein and robbed him of his vehicle.

Mogadima’s brother Pontsho was given one life sentence and 30 years’ jail. The other siblings, Moshe, 28, and Reuben Mokoena, 22, were sentenced to 65 and 30 years’ jail respectively.

The court also gave Neo Mphuthi, 23, one life sentence and 53 years in jail.

The sixth man, Johnny Mohlala, 26, was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment.

Mulaudzi said the men were arrested last year after being on the run since January 2010.

National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega has recently expressed concern at the spate of police killings. Phiyega said in August a police officer was being killed every 10 days. “At least six officers have been murdered while on duty in the past 60 days that I have been in office,” she had said then.

According to the Institute for Security Studies, 1 130 police officials were killed between 2001 and 2010.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Simon Mpembe said: “We applaud the good work done by the judge. It is encouraging to see criminals sent away for good.

“It gives us the courage to go an extra mile in ridding our communities of social ills.”

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The Star