28/10/2014. Bongiwe Mchubise, the grandmother of Anelisa Mkhindo outside the North Gauteng High court after Thokozani Radebe was convicted for rape, murder and kidnaping. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria -

“I am insane… I am mad.”

This was the response of the man behind the gruesome rape and killings of three Diepsloot children when asked on Tuesday why he should not be sent to jail for the rest of his life.

Ntokozo Radebe was convicted on 12 charges – six of rape and three each of kidnapping and murder following the deaths of Anelisa Mkhonto, 5, and cousins Yonelisa, 2, and Zandile Mali, 3.

Anelisa first went missing last September and her body was only discovered days later near a dumpsite in Diepsloot.

The Mali cousins went missing about a month later and their bodies were discovered days later in a public toilet in the township.

Radebe brutally raped Anelisa in his shack and then strangled her, before placing her body in a suitcase. At night he dumped her body next to a dustbin.

A month later he lured the Mali cousins from their home by buying them sweets.

He locked the children in his shack and went drinking. When he returned he first raped Zandile – both anally and vaginally – before throttling her to death with a wire coat hanger. He then stuffed her body under the bed.

That night he heard the frantic search for the children by residents, but he raped and then strangled little Yonelisa too. She was also stuffed under his bed, but when the stench became unbearable a few days later, he placed her in a bucket and her cousin in the same suitcase Anelisa had been in.

Radebe took the bodies to a public toilet, where he emptied the bucket and the suitcase, leaving them there.

These details emerged during a graphic account to a magistrate by Radebe of what happened.

This week he claimed he was tortured into confessing and that police had told him what to say. But the Gauteng Provincial Division of the High Court in Pretoria dismissed his claims.

Judge Nico Coetzee said there were just too many details given as to how the children were raped and killed. Radebe was also linked to all three children via blood found in his shack. His DNA was also found inside the children after he had raped them.

He will be sentenced on Wednesday and will probably receive nine life sentences – one for each rape and murder charge.

While he still insists he was not the culprit – in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him – Radebe now claims he is mad.

Asked by his defence whether he wanted to say anything in mitigation of sentence, a smiling Radebe, much to the amusement of the packed public gallery, said he had a problem. “I am not well in my head. It does not function well. I started to become insane in 2005 due to heavy drinking.”

Asked by his advocate why he only divulged this at this stage of the trial, Radebe said: “I thought it was clear to all that I am mad.

“I was not able to follow the proceedings. It went through the one ear and exited through the other.”

Responding to the State, that argued Radebe had heard the evidence of how the children were brutally raped and killed, he said: “Heard what? Here? I heard nothing. I can remember absolutely nothing.”

His advocate called for a 30-year jail sentence, while the State asked for multiple life sentences. Judge Coetzee was told that Radebe was arrogant, laughed during proceedings and clearly did not realise the brutality of his actions.

The judge said the children, who were alive while being so savagely raped that their private parts were torn, must have experienced excruciating pain.

Bongiwe Nxubuse, grandmother of Anelisa, cried bitterly following the conviction and said she hoped Radebe would go to jail for a long time. Members of Agang in Diepsloot, the only party to support the family throughout the trial, also called for a long jail term. Member Humphrey Mabuse said: “He does not deserve to live. We don’t want him in our community and 1 000 years in jail will be too little.”

Pretoria News