BLOEMFONTEIN, August 14 – Seven gang members have been sentenced to life imprisonment for gang-related offences, including murder, by a Free State court.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, said the seven suspects were sentenced by the Virginia high court on Friday.
Makhele said the seven were given life sentences for murder and a further three years each for contravention of Section 9 (1) (a) of The Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) 121 of 1998.
The seven were Teboho John Hlalele, 26, from Ext 15 Bronville, Thapelo Edward Lepheane, 20, from Freedom Square in Thabong, Thapelo Tshabalala, 23, from Ext 19 in Bronville, Teboho Ernest Hlakanelo, 23, also of Ext 19 Bronville, Mahlomola Johnie Thabiso Motaung, 23, of Ext 2 in Rheederspark, Siphumelele Madlebe, 20, of Freedom Square in Thabong, and Richard Teboho Moletsane, 23, also of Thabong.
“The sentencing follows events that occurred in Thabong near Batlhaping Shopping Centre where Hector Lebohang Kase was found brutally killed and burnt on Sunday, 31 January 2016,” Makhele said. “It was reported that the deceased belonged to International Street Kids (ISK).
“On the same date, another male, Innocent Mzwandile Klaas, was also attacked near Poppie’s Tavern. He was rushed to the nearest hospital and he later died. Mzwandile was said to be a member of Gangsters 10 (G10).”
According to police, Detective Warrant Officer Brian Mtileni and Detective Constable Bonisile Mvangeli from Thabong SAPS established that the two murder incidents were gang-related and committed by a grouping belonging to RAF 3 and IJP members.
“Initially, eight suspects were arrested and brought before court, with evidence linking them to the incidents. However, the court acquitted one of the accused on all counts and the other seven were also not found guilty on the murder of Lebohang Kase. Judge Lepono Lekale did not hesitate to convict them on the murder of Mzwandile Klaas and POCA 121 of 1998 which deals with gang-related offences.”
Free State Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Lebeoane Tsumane lauded the members for a sterling job, saying: “The sentence will send a strong message to youngsters involved in heinous deeds such as murder and involvement in gang related activities that the end of these deeds is a very lengthy jail term. This will also serve as an example to those youngsters who are affiliated in gangs that they can be charged and convicted by being in association with those criminal gangs even if they didn’t participate in whatever criminal activities at the time.”