Durban - A taxi operator who slit the throat of a witness to an earlier murder he had committed and raped a teenage relative has been sentenced to three life terms plus 50 years in jail.

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Themba Sishi found there were no substantial or compelling circumstances that could save 34-year-old Langa Maseko from a life behind bars.

Maseko was convicted of two counts of murder, one of rape and other crimes including robbery, attempted murder, housebreaking and the unlawful possession of semi-automatic weapons and ammunition. The crimes were committed between December 2009 and May 2012.

The court heard that Maseko, a taxi operator in Gauteng, had travelled to KZN to kill Celumusa Suzuki in December 2009.

Maseko had gone to Suzuki’s home on that night and persuaded him to go for a walk. At an isolated spot, Maseko shot him in the head.

On February 16 last year, Maseko slit the throat of a witness to Suzuki’s murder.

Shupu Mavuso was due to testify against Maseko at the trial for Suzuki’s murder.

Maseko kidnapped Mavuso, with the help of two other men, slit his throat and then threw his body off a cliff in Obishini.

He was sentenced to life for both murders, and received the third life sentence for the rape of a 15-year-old relative in May last year.

When the girl reported the rape to her father, he spoke of opening a case of rape against Maseko.

When Maseko heard of this, he went to the girl’s home and opened fire on the family. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated,” Judge Sishi said. - Daily News