Joy as villain jailed for life

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The Polokwane high court yesterday sentenced a notorious Tzaneen criminal to two terms of life in prison to cheering from the public gallery.

Piet Laurence Mashele, 27, of Xhihoko village, in Letsitele, near Tzaneen, got an additional 17 years for a series of rapes and robberies.

Mashele raped three women and robbed them of their belongings last year.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a 47-year-old woman and to another life term for raping a 39-year-old woman, to 15 years for raping a 51-year-old woman and to two years for robbery.

The residents of Xhihoko village said they had become disillusioned with the police because they took too long to bring Mashele to court.

Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe, a spokesman for the Mopani police, said the police welcomed the sentences.

He said Mashele's fate would serve as a strong warning to would-be criminals and deter them from violence.