A man from Mpumalanga has been given two life sentences for murdering and raping a nine-year-old girl.
Philip Mailula, 27, was handed the sentences at Mbokola magistrate’s court on Friday. He pleaded guilty on Monday.
Police said Mailula took Bawinile Khoza to the bush in Mmametlhake in December 2017 and raped her.
“He then decided to end the life of a girl, strangled her and dumped the lifeless body at the bush,” said Sgt Tlaki Matemane. “The accused then returned back to his residential place and did not get peace, became scared and went to report the incident to the local prophetess, who alerted the police.”
Mailula was arrested and linked to the attack on Bawinile through DNA evidence.
In September 2018, the Sunday Times visited Bawinile’s family to find out how they were coping with the loss.
“We feel powerless and our lives have changed for the worse, the pain does not go away,” said the girl’s grandfather, Joseph Mondlana. “Since this happened her mother, Nozipho, has lost her mind. She stopped eating, talking, laughing or socialising.
“She went crazy and we had to take her to relatives in Nelspruit, where she will be far from this place and heal.”