05/09/2012. Sipho Kubeka makes his way to the cells after he was sentenced to two life sentences for raping and murdering his 92 year old grandmother. Picture: Masi Losi

Johannesburg - Minister of Women Lulu Xingwana on Thursday welcomed the two life sentences imposed on an Mpumulanga man convicted of raping and strangling his grandmother.

“We are on record calling on our courts to impose the heaviest possible punishment to anyone found guilty of child or women abuse,” Xingwana said in a statement.

“This sentence will go a long way in promoting the fight against violence against women and children.”

Sipho Oupa Kubeka, 39, was jailed for life on Wednesday by the High Court in Pretoria for attacking his 92-year-old grandmother Konzaphi Elizabeth Kubeka at her home near Buhlebuzile, in KwaMhlanga, in September last year.

He pleaded guilty to the murder and rape.

Xingwana said the judiciary remained a critical component in fighting gender-based violence.

“Judge Selby Baqwa has sent a clear message that our courts have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable sectors of our population and that it will act firmly and harshly against abusers and murderers,” she said.