Two men who waged a reign of terror in the Brits area in 2014, causing the death of five people, were yesterday sentenced to life and long terms of imprisonment on charges ranging from murder and attempted murder to robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Judge Billy Mothle sentenced Knowledge Paulus Mandlazi (28) of Ikaneng to five terms of life imprisonment for murdering five men on smallholdings and a further 38 years effective imprisonment on four charges of attempted murder, six of robbery, two of housebreaking and the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The sentences will run concurrently with the 25-year prison sentence Mandlazi is currently serving for a murder and robbery committed just two days before the Brits murder and robbery spree.
John Tivane (31) of Mozambique was sentenced to life and a further 25 years effective imprisonment on three charges of murder, three of attempted murder, five of robbery and two of housebreaking.
Although Mandlazi claimed he was motivated by a hatred for white people because of a series of “bad experiences” with whites in the past, Judge Mothle said he had been motivated by pure greed.
He said it was terrifying that Mandlazi described the robberies and murders as “going to work”.
The charges followed four attacks on smallholdings in the Brits area between March and June 2014 in which four men were killed and several people injured and robbed of their belongings.
Mandlazi and Tivane were both also found guilty of murdering an alleged fellow perpetrator, Mathosi Sithole, who was shot dead by a victim during one of the attacks.
The 22-year-old Leander Dercksen of Soutpansdrift was in March 2014 shot in the head and neck and his body left in farm fields while the robbers made off with his vehicle.
In April 2014, Danie Dercksen, 45, of Geluk was having a braai with his brother Bennie and other family members when they were attacked. Danie was shot in the chest and died at the scene while his brother Bennie was wounded.
In May 2014, Louis van Wyk (55), his wife Hester and his son Louis Jr (27) were attacked at their house in Kareepoort. Van Wyk Sr was shot in the head a stomach and later died in hospital. His son Louis Jr shot and killed one of their attackers in self-defence.
Less than a month later, in June 2014, Joshua Joubert, 70, was fatally shot in the chest and abdomen when he was attacked while visiting a family member in Mamogalieskraal. A family member, Josias van der Schyff, was severely assaulted and almost killed during the attack.