'Severe punishment' for family killers

The four convicted murderers of the Van der Merwe family, two of whom were also convicted of rape, were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Circuit High Court in Secunda, Mpumalanga, on Tuesday.

Vincent Mokhosonke Khubeka (a former employee of the Van der Merwe family), Themba Luke Radebe, Lucky Peter Mbalati and Clement Bay-Bay Makua were also sentenced for other crimes, amounting to 240 years’ imprisonment—but the sentences will run concurrently.

Radebe and Mbalati were also sentenced to 15 years for raping Gina van der Merwe Snr and her daughter-in-law, Melissa van der Merwe.

These two women—together with Gina’s husband, Frans, and their son, Daryl—were found shot dead near Loskop Dam in Mpumalanga on February 9.

The family came from Benoni.

Khubeka’s father worked for the family business and they had known him since childhood. He was also employed at the family’s engineering business as a supervisor.

In passing down sentence, Judge Nico Coetzee said the way in which the murders were committed outweighed any mitigating circumstances that might have existed.

The four men lied their way on to the premises, and afterwards committed heinous crimes, which deserved severe punishment, said Coetzee.

“The community must be protected against people like this,” he said.—Sapa

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