Strand mur­derer sen­tenced

Xolani Lantu, 35, hande three life sen­tences for kid­nap­ping, rap­ing and killing five-year-old Mi­nen­tle Lekatha

Afro Voice (KwaZulu Natal) - - Western Cape News Northern Cape News - VIN­CENT CRUYWAGEN vin­centc@afro­tone.co.za

A MAN who kid­napped and later raped and mur­dered a five-year-old girl last year in the Strand was this week handed three life sen­tences in the Western Cape High Court.

Xolani Lantu, 35, was also sen­tenced to five years for kid­nap­ping. He was slapped with two life terms for rape and one for mur­der. The sen­tences are to run con­cur­rently.

He was con­victed for kid­nap­ping, rap­ing and mur­der­ing Mi­nen­tle Lekatha on June 3 last year.

The judge said Lantu had showed a brazen and cal­lous dis­re­gard for the hu­man life of “a bub­bly and happy girl”.

Both provin­cial po­lice com­mis­sioner Khom­binkosi Jula and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) wel­comed the con­vic­tion and sen­tences im­posed.

Pass­ing sen­tence, judge Derek Wille said a clear mes­sage must be sent out that there was no room for crim­i­nals in so­ci­ety but at the same time any pun­ish­ment must be tem­pered by an el­e­ment of mercy.

“This was a bru­tal mur­der and rape of a five-year-old girl. This was at the hands of a per­son whom she trusted and loved and re­ferred to as her friend.

“The mur­der and the rape of this young girl was sense­less and the lifechang­ing ef­fect that this mur­der and rape has had on her fa­ther and grand­mother is un­think­able,” the judge said.

The lit­tle girl went miss­ing while play­ing out­side her home in the Strand with friends on June 3 last year. Her body was later found un­der a bridge in the Nomzamo area.

It was later re­vealed that she had been raped be­fore be­ing mur­dered.

“The killing of women and chil­dren has be­come a scourge.

“It is no longer strangers who rape and kill chil­dren but peo­ple who are close to them.

“Our so­ci­ety is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing high lev­els of vi­o­lent crime, es­pe­cially vi­o­lent crimes against women and chil­dren,” state ad­vo­cate Maria Mar­shall ar­gued in ag­gra­va­tion of sen­tence.

She had asked the court to sen­tence the ac­cused to life im­pris­on­ment.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

JUS­TICE DE­LIV­ERED: Xolani Lantu was sen­tenced to three life terms for the rape and mur­der on the Strand of five-year-old Min­ten­tle Lekatha.

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