'Killers without conscience' get 445 years each

Two men who were found guilty of 21 charges against them—including seven counts of murder and six counts of rape—were sentenced to 445 years’ imprisonment each by the Middelburg High Court, Mpumalanga police said on Friday.

Organised crime unit spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi said Dumisani Makhubela (28) and Johannes van Rooyen (27) were sentenced by Judge Aubrey Ledwaba.

The men were each given 13 life sentences, 17 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 15 years for housebreaking and three years for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

“The sentences will run as is. The judge said he wants to make an example of these men, that such people deserve to be removed from society,” said Hlathi.

The court found the men guilty on October 2 after a two-year trial.

Among other crimes, Makhubela and Van Rooyen were convicted of murdering four members of the Motebu family in May 2005 at their home in Mhluzi near Middelburg. Hlathi said the men, at the time, suspected that the family had won a lottery jackpot.

The father, Lasi Vusi Motebu (35), was stabbed in the chest and hanged from a ceiling. His wife, Nokuthula Florence (32), was raped and hanged alongside her husband.

One daughter aged nine was stabbed in the neck and raped, while her seven-year-old sister was strangled.

The only survivor was a toddler son—two-year-old Thabiso—who was left with his family’s bodies for three days before being found.

Ledwaba said the killers had no conscience.

They were also found guilty of robbing, raping and murdering Portia Motau (15). She was stoned to death along with her boyfriend, Hlope Mahlangu, in Middelburg’s Extension 2.—Sapa

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