As celebrations to mark the end of the year gain momentum, Sowetan pauses to look back on the tragic cases that went through our courts - involving ordinary people and high-profile personalities.
These cases shocked and enthralled the nation.
Ronald Jones, of Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, was jailed for two life terms and 23 years for the brutal rape and murder of six-year-old Michaela Ganchi three years ago.
On October 6 2005, Jones, 29, kidnapped Michaela, who was playing outside her grandmother's house in Eldorado Park. He took her to a nearby veld where he forced her to engage in sexual acts, raped and then murdered her.
Police discovered Michaela's half-naked body the next day.
Mongezi Jingxela, 39, one of South Africa's worst serial rapists, will be kept in prison until he dies after being found guilty of raping 65 women between 1994 and 2004.
Jingxela, of Meadowlands, Soweto, lured unsuspecting women to deserted areas and mine dumps by promising them jobs at a sportswear factory. Instead, he raped them and robbed them of their belongings.
He faced 271 charges, including 71 of rape. Some of his victims died before the trial started. Survivors testified that he had infected them with HIV.
Mxolisi Matereke, a magistrate, was jailed for 10 years for murdering his best friend five years ago.
Matereke, 46, of Meredale, Johannesburg, shot and killed Vika Ngcobo in August 2002 after his friend tried to intervene in a quarrel between the magistrate and his wife.
Matereke has been granted leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Former Scorpions senior advocate Portia Kgantsi was sentenced to 10 years' in prison after she was found guilty of fraud and corruption.
Kgantsi, 40, took bribes from Nigerian nationals John Afolabi and Djirbil Issa Mohamedou in exchange for their freedom.
The two men had been arrested by the Scorpions for fraud.
Kgantsi faced a string of charges, including extortion, attempted theft, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and lying about a previous conviction.
She had also tried to steal R3million worth of dagga from the Scorpions' holding pen.
Edward Kekana walked out of the Johannesburg high court a free man in May after he was acquitted of shooting dead three men in a road rage incident.
On July 31 four years ago, Kekana, 36, shot and killed Daniel Verster, Anthony Vicente and Makhale Chiloane outside his sister's home in Unigray after a scuffle.
The men had followed him to his sister's home where they accused him of driving his car with the headlights on bright.
A former policeman from Soweto received two life terms for repeatedly raping his own two daughters.
The 57-year-old married father of five first raped his 13-year-old daughter in 1989. He began raping his 14-year-old in 1998 and continued until 2000.
He was sentenced in absentia after he refused to come to court.
Riaz Kadwa was jailed for 22 years for the brutal murder of his parents, Munira and prominent plastic surgeon Anwar Kadwa, in October 2005.
The doctor died after his son fired 12 shots at him. Riaz then turned to his mother and shot her twice, first in the head and then in the abdomen.
Though the motive for the murders did not emerge in court, it appeared Riaz, 24, killed his parents to protect the family from the shame of his father's infidelity and a pending divorce.
His sister Nabila, his co-accused, was jailed for one year for defeating the ends of justice.
Mlamuli Mnisi, 27, of Zola in Soweto, received a life sentence for beating his two girlfriends to death.
Mnisi beat Nomsa Mabena to death in July 2004 after she refused to dance with him.
Six months later he bludgeoned Bongiwe Ngema to death with a plank.
Police discovered Ngema's body in a room Mnisi had rented in Emndeni, Soweto. The plank with which she was killed was found hidden in the room.
The notorious Roto gang's reign of terror eventually ended this month when its leader and crime mastermind, Nkosinathi "King" Maponya, 27, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his cousin and fellow gang member Sicelo Mthembu.
The Roto gang was notorious for housebreakings in Randburg and Soweto
Maponya joined four other gang members already serving life sentences for Mthembu's murder.
The court heard that after Mthembu was killed, his body was cut open and his heart, lungs, intestines and genitals ripped out. The remains were bundled in a car and dumped in Soweto.
The hacked off organs were put in a plastic bag and hidden under a bridge.
Witnesses said Maponya had ordered Mthembu's killing.