Johannesburg - The sentencing of Modise Motapane, convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a four-year-old Katlehong girl, was welcomed on Monday.

The two life terms and another seven years in jail imposed on him would act as a deterrent, acting Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) head Phumla Williams said in a statement.

“This sentencing clearly demonstrates that government will not tolerate such vile criminal acts and remains committed to ensuring that children feel and are safe.”

Motapane was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering four-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala in Katlehong in September last year.

The Gauteng legislature's community safety portfolio committee also welcomed the sentence.

“We commend the police for their work in ensuring that those who choose the barbaric life should rot in jail,” chairman Jacob Khawe said in a statement.

He said the abuse and rape of young girls seemed to have become a trend and could not be tolerated.

Khawe commended the Katlehong residents who helped secure Motapane's arrest and conviction.

Acting Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba congratulated the detective, Sergeant Malesela Malope, for his work in solving the crime.

He said the case was an indication of how valuable DNA evidence was in investigations.

“This was an indication of how DNA if preserved on a crime scene can assist investigations, especially when someone close to the family or friend are involved, as it was in this case,” Mothiba said in a statement. - Sapa