They stood accused of abducting and murdering a teenager by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight. They then fled the scene and left her to burn to death.
Boitumelo Dlamini, 18, died a horrible death and her killers - Cynthia Mosupi, 23, and Sharon Gugu Twala, 24 - showed her no mercy.
They had tortured her before killing her, Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela said on Monday.
He sentenced Mosupi to an effective 18 years imprisonment as she was the instigator and Twala to an effective 14 years for her role in the killing.
Twala held the terrified Dlamini down while Mosupi doused her with petrol and lit the match which caused flames to engulf her.
Twala cried bitterly throughout sentencing while Mosupi sat close to her in an apparent bid to console her.
Twala assisted her friend on June 18, 2015, when they abducted Dlamini from the Eletsa Secondary School in Lethlabile near Brits shortly after she wrote an exam. They took her to a deserted veld behind a graveyard near Klipgat.
Mosupi was livid with Dlamini who had a relationship with her former boyfriend and father of her child. She earlier told the court that she only wanted to teach Dlamini a lesson by pouring petrol over her. She never intended to set her alight
But the judge rejected this and questioned why then did she take a can of petrol and matches along to the scene of the killing.
The judge said it was clear that the two women did not grasp the gravity of their actions at the time or even halfway through their trial.
He referred to Twala, who, during vital evidence against her by a State witness, even dozed off in the dock.
But shocking visuals taken with a cellphone by a friend named Victor Pilane, who went with them to the scene of the killing, seemed to have caused the women to realise what they had done, the judge said.
Twala was so traumatised by the sounds and visuals that she asked the court to excuse her from looking at them. Mosupi agreed afterwards that she had to be punished for what she had done.
The judge said the visuals and the audio exhibited were disturbing to all who heard and saw it. Dlamini can be heard pleading for her life and promising to never see Mosupi’s former boyfriend again. The women turned a deaf ear and mercilessly attacked her.
The judge said it must have been terrible for Dlamini to witness how they were preparing for her death. The fact that it was a remote spot near a graveyard must have added to her fear, he said.
The two accused waited in a car outside the school gate for the unsuspecting Dlamini. The judge said Twala, “like a Judas”, put her arm around the victim and led her to the car.
They then drove her to the spot where she met her death.
The accused tried to tie Dlamini to a tree, but the belt they wanted to use was too short. The terrified Dlamini tried to run away, but Mosupi tripped her. Twala then held on to her while they poured petrol over her.
Twala pinned Dlamini down, while Mosupi set her alight.
Judge Maumela said there was a lot of gender-based violence in the country and it was mostly men who acted violently towards women, but in this case, it was violence by women against another woman.
“It boggles the mind why she (Mosupi) had built up such emotions over her failed relationship, which she said was over she had no right to act against the deceased and to pull accused two (Twala) into her vicious scheme,” the judge said.