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Cape Town - Four men who went on a crime spree which included the kidnapping, robbery and murder of two men in Mpumalanga in 2014, were on Monday sentenced by the Circuit of the Pretoria High Court sitting in Middelburg to lengthy jail terms.

According to a police statement on Monday, Thabang Elvis Nthako, 36, Samson Bhuti Makuwa, 25, George Maswanganyi, 27, and Bheki David Mokoena, 33, were sentenced for two separate incidents where they hijacked, abducted and murdered two men, Phillip Daniel Monkwe, and David Vusi Majola. They killed the victims by forcing them down an old mine shaft outside Middelburg, after robbing them of their motor vehicles and other belongings.

The High Court sentenced Nthako and Makuwa to 10 years on two counts of kidnapping, 24 years for two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and two life terms for the two murders. The sentences will run concurrently.

Maswanganyi was sentenced to five years for one count of kidnapping, 12 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and a life sentence for the one murder charge. The court ordered that his sentences also run concurrently.

Mokoena was found guilty on two counts of kidnapping for which he was handed a five-year term, while he was given 12 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Mpumalanga provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, said he was pleased with the sentences, as he believed it will serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders. He also appreciated the hard work by the investigation team, as it helped secure such satisfactory sentences.