As the fight against gender based violence continues to get intense, a thirty seven year old man from Woolfort Village in Bergville, the Free State, has been sentenced to life in prison with an additional 83 years for a string of rapes, murder as well as several counts of theft.

Muzi Wiseman Twala was on Monday sentenced at the Free State High Court, sitting in Phuthaditjhaba, after he pleaded guilty to six counts of rape, murder and seven counts of theft.

Twala’s crime spree stretched from August 2011 to February 2018 when he was finally arrested for rape and murder and then subsequently linked to a number of other cases through DNA.

According to  Phaladi Shuping, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, the crime spree started on 2 August 2011 when he accosted two women, aged 15 and 22, who were on their way to fetch cattle from the grazing fields. Twala threatened, raped them and took their cellphones.

Days later on 8 August, he raped a 25-year-old woman who was on her way home from visiting a friend. Threatening her with a knife, he also stole her cellphone.

Shuping added that “Twala continued with his crime spree when he raped two women aged 20 and 22 years in Tshiame Village, Harrismith. The women were walking from school when he forced them into a graveyard. He took their cellular phones after raping them”.

On 2 February 2019,Twala accosted a 20-year-old woman who was sitting in a car with her boyfriend outside Intabazwe Township. He fatally shot her boyfriend before raping her. He was arrested after the woman had identified him”.

During sentencing, prosecutor advocate Dansi Mpemvane urged the court to impose a lengthy jail term on Twala because the offences he committed were carefully planned and executed.

Mpemvane told the court that “The accused is not pleading guilty because he is showing remorse, but because he is aware that evidence against him is overwhelming.  He was linked to all the offences by DNA and the court must permanently remove him from the society to protect women. Most of the offences he committed clearly show that he does not have respect for women.”

Judge Mpina Mathebula agreed with the State that Twala must be removed from the society as he was not a candidate for rehabilitation.