Mahlangu, 23, and Zulu, 22, were given life imprisonment on Friday for the rape and murder of 20-year-old Nokuthula Skhosana on September 3, 2017.
She had been walking with a male friend from a liquor outlet that day when the men struck.
“Mahlangu and Zulu viciously attacked the pair, robbed Nokuthula of her cellphone whilst assaulting her friend who managed to abscond from the terrible scene,” Mpumalanga Police Spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said in a statement.
Skhosana was dragged her to a nearby bush where they took turns raping her.
The pair attempted to stone her to death but later strangled her when they realised she was still alive.
“Before abandoning her body, they carried out a plan of masking their evil deed by covering her body with stones for people not to see it.
“Even after their attempt to hide their sin, Mahlangu was restless at home to a point where he later stole his uncle’s bakkie, drove back to the murder scene where he took Nokuthula’s body and buried it in a shallow grave, about ten kilometres away from the scene where she was killed,” Hlathi further explained.
‘Heartless and cruel’
The matter was eventually reported to Tweefontein police, who arrested Mahlangu and Zulu within seven days after the pair were positively linked to the crimes.
The suspects remained in police custody up until their sentencing.
“When Judge Strydom handed down the sentence, he stated that a defenceless young woman was gang raped and brutally killed. That was very heartless as well as cruel,” Hlathi said.
Mahlangu was sentenced to 15 years for theft, and Zulu, 18 years.
Both were also given five years for kidnapping, and five years imprisonment for defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently.
Mpumalanga Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma said murderers and rapists did not have a place in society and called on residents to pass on any information to police that would help arrest criminals.