Strand murderer sentenced
Xolani Lantu, 35, hande three life sentences for kidnapping, raping and killing five-year-old Minentle Lekatha
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.
JUSTICE DELIVERED: Xolani Lantu was sentenced to three life terms for the rape and murder on the Strand of five-year-old Mintentle Lekatha.