File picture: ANA.
File picture: ANA.

Double life sentence a victory against gender-based violence: Sanco

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Aug 9, 2020

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Rustenburg - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the North West has lauded the two life imprisonment sentences handed down to 20-year-old convicted murderer Xander Bylsma in the North West High Court this past week.

In a statement marking Women's Day on Sunday, Sanco said the sentencing had been a victory against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide. In addition to robbing women of their lives, gender-based violence remained a blight that continued to also rob women of their freedom, human rights, and dignity.

"The harsh sentence reaffirms that perpetrators of GBV who have waged an insistent war that transcends class and race against women and girl children have no place in our society. It will serve as a deterrent and restore public confidence in the criminal justice system,” Sanco North West chairman Paul Sebegoe said following Friday's sentencing.

He hoped that the Hough and Engelbrecht families, who each lost a loved one in the gruesome killings at Stella High School's Huis Esterhuizen hostel over two years ago, would find closure knowing that justice was ultimately served.

Seventeen-year-old Marna Engelbrecht’s body was discovered hanging from the rails of a staircase by the hostel matron on Saturday May 26, 2018. Upon arrival of the police officers at the school, the body of 16-year-old Sharnelle Hough, who was Bylsma’s ex-girlfriend, was also discovered with string around her neck in a hostel bathroom. The girls had reportedly been strangled to make it look as if they had committed suicide.

The killer was arrested soon after the girls’ bodies were found after he confessed to private detective Chris Saunders. He subsequently handed himself over to police at the the Vryburg police station, where he was arrested, Sebegoe said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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