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7 life sentences handed to 2 mass murderers in KZN

The pair hacked their family members to death in what appears to have been a witchcraft ritual.

FILE: The mass murder took place in Mabaleni on the south coast last week. Picture: Saps.

JOHANNESBURG - Two people have been handed seven life sentences for killing eight family members in KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week, Thulani and Sibonelo Mncwabe killed their family members, including two young children and an elderly man, in a crime believed to involve witchcraft in Mabaleni on the south coast.

The two suspects pleaded guilty to all eight charges and were also given an additional 20 years each.

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi say the accused, aged 26 and 28, hacked their family members to death in what appears to have been a witchcraft ritual.

He says the sentences will send out a strong message to other criminals practising witchcraft.

"We are happy with the outcome and I think it would also send a strong message to other would-be criminals that such things cannot be allowed in the country."

Mulaudzi applauded the multi-disciplined task team who worked on the case for their swift action.

Meanwhile, women and children activist groups have welcomed the seven life sentences handed to the two cousins.

International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect has applauded the authorities for wrapping up the case in a week.

Its president Joan van Niekerk says the punishment fits the crime.

"What is wrong with our society? What is wrong with our communities that this kind of crime can happen? We need to be looking very carefully at how we raise our boy children."

Women and Men Against Child Abuse's Tania Otto agrees.

"We are seeing a period in South Africa where people are just [saying] we've had enough of the abuse of women and children."

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