In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Tzaneen residents yesterday cheered in approval when the Polokwane high court sentenced Piet Laurence Mashele, 27, convicted for rape and robbery, to two life sentences.
Mashele, of Xhihoko village in Letsitele, near Tzaneen, was sentenced to an additional 17 years on another rape and robbery charge.
He is accused of raping and robbing three women in separate assaults last year.
He approached the women as they were walking in the street, and dragged them into a nearby house and raped them.
The Tzaneen community launched a hunt for Mashele after the women spoke out about their ordeal. The community accused the police of dragging their feet in the investigation.
The police arrested the man with the assistance of the community.
Mashele was sentenced to life in prison for the rape of a 47-year-old woman.
He received another other life sentence for raping a 39-year-old and 15 years for raping a 51-year-old woman.
He was sentenced to a further two years for robbery.
After his sentencing Tzaneen residents celebrated.
A spokesman for the Mopani police, Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe, said the police welcomed the harsh sentence.
Ngoepe said he hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals.