Makananisa Norman Khanedzeni wants to appeal against his sentence. Picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - An Ekurhuleni man who was sentenced to two life terms for raping, disembowelling and bludgeoning a nine-year-old girl before burning her body deserves to rot in jail.

This is according to advocate Shubnum Singh, who was arguing on Thursday in the Johannesburg High Court (sitting in Palmridge) in opposition to Makananisa Norman Khanedzeni’s application for leave to appeal. Singh said the 34-year-old was a psychopath and had to be removed from society for good.

“He needs to be locked away and the key thrown away as far as possible. He was a deceptive person in his gaping evidence and he couldn’t give an alibi. With the truth you don’t have to remember details, but he changed his versions and contradicted himself,” said Singh.

But Judge Jacob Francis spoke of overcrowded conditions in South African prisons, saying the Minister of Correctional Services, Sbu Ndebele, had said “in SA we do not throw away keys”.

While overcrowding was not the basis of Khanedzeni’s reasons for calling for a reduction of his sentence, he still based his argument on the Correctional Services stance of rehabilitating prisoners instead of locking them up to rot.

“It’s a sentence that should have been less than life. He led a productive life and was a first offender. The court has to consider the fact that he’s going to be in jail until the day he dies,” said advocate Gail Sidwell.

She said it was possible that another court would rule differently in regard to circumstantial evidence as it was on this that the State had largely based its case.

Khanedzeni was sentenced to two life terms earlier this month - one for Banele’s rape and the other for her murder.

Judge Francis further imposed a three-year sentence for the Grade 3 pupil’s kidnapping. All sentences are to run concurrently. This means Khanedzeni will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail, but correctional services would need permission from Banele’s family if they wanted to release him on parole.

The application for leave to appeal has enraged Banele’s father, who said from his home that he wished the sentence would be increased as the man they considered a neighbour only got off with a slap on the wrist.

“If I count all those things he did to my daughter, I still feel the life sentence is too lenient... The whole family, we’ll hurt for the rest of our lives and he still wants a reduction.”

Judge Francis will rule on the matter on Monday.

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The Star