Hefty sentences for 28s gang members welcomed

The 17 members of the 28s gang will serve sentences ranging from 12 years to life in prison.

FILE: Members of the 28s gang in court. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Justice Department says it hopes the hefty jail terms handed down to 17 convicted gangsters will deter young people from turning to gangsterism.

On Wednesday, gang boss George 'Geweld' Thomas and six others were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ten others will serve terms ranging between 12 and 25 years behind bars.

The department's Hishaam Mohammed said, "The department of correctional services will ensure that these offenders serve their sentences under heightened security. All our correctional facilities have been placed on high alert. We also plan to crush gangsterism, crush organised crime, and put special mechanisms in place."

WATCH: Gang boss receives seven life sentences

'I'M NOT A LETHAL GANG BOSS'

During his testimony, Thomas said he's not the lethal gang boss as alleged by the prosecution.

Thomas claimed to no longer be an active member of the 28s gang and argued that he had not been in a position to order any murders while in jail.

Thomas has also denied being a danger to society, adding he's often praised for his good behavior in prison.

The convicted gang boss denied having a high rank within the gang, saying as a 'sergeant', he was only able to train new members and not order instructions.

The judge, however, rejected the testimony as improbable.

George 'Geweld' Thomas (L) and his 16 co-accused in court on 4 May 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.