CAPE TOWN - Two men have been sentenced to a combined prison sentence of more than 25 life sentences, in two separate incidents which included rape, robbery, and murder, Mpumalanga police said on Tuesday.

In the first instance, 30-year-old Nthai Steve Radebe, who was facing 22 counts of rape, four counts of contravention of the firearm control act, and four counts of robbery with aggravated circumstances was sentenced to more than 22 life sentences by the circuit of the Pretoria High Court, sitting at Delmas in Mpumalanga.

According to police, the court heard how the accused had terrorised communities within the KwaMhlanga-Siyabuswa and surrounding areas from 2012 up until when he was arrested in 2015.

The cases he is accused of, inter-alia includes an attack on a young girl while she was on her way home with her male friend. Radebe threatened the duo with a firearm, forcefully took them to a nearby bush and raped the girl repeatedly before robbing them of their belongings.

The accused also attacked an old woman who was sleeping with her grandchildren. When he gained entry into their house, he lit the sleeping children’s faces with a cellphone torch, picked a 19-year-old girl from her siblings and threatened the others with a firearm. He then dragged the girl to a nearby bush, raped her repeatedly and left her there.

In another incident, a mother and her two young boys were asleep in their bedroom when Radebe forced the door open, gained entry into the house and raped the mother at gunpoint before robbing the family of home appliances, cosmetics, and clothing.

“In 2015, his reign of terror was cut short after he was arrested by the police shortly after having accosted a young woman at knifepoint and raped her repeatedly before robbing her of her cellphone. During the investigation he was further linked to other cases through DNA,” the police said in a statement.

Radebe was sentenced to a life sentence for each rape, totaling 22 life sentences, 20 years for pointing of a firearm and 60 years for robbery with aggravated circumstances.

In the second instance, Jabulani Fransisco Mazibuko, aged 43, was sentenced to three life sentences for three counts of murder by the circuit of the North Gauteng division high Court, sitting at Breyten.

The court heard how the accused shot and killed Jabulani Nkosi, Themba Nkosi and David Mkhaliphi following a heated argument at Embhuleni Tribal Authority offices on September 7, 2015. The victims had gone to the offices to deliver a petition in which they sought to oppose Mazibuko's inauguration as an Induna which was to take place in four days' time.

Mazibuko who was enraged ended up shooting and killing the trio, after which he handed himself over to the police. He first appeared in court on September 9, 2015, and applied for bail on October 1, 2015, but was turned down.

The provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, said: “These stiff sentences will, without doubt, serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.”

African News Agency/ANA