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Brothers locked away for killing own grandparents

Staff Reporter

The Free State High Court has slapped a local man with life sentences while his brother will also be locked away for long after they pleaded guilty to killing their grandparents for obtaining a peace order against one of them.

The pair, Thokozane Gazide, 31, and Kabelo Sebotso, 20, were also found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances and arson for stealing from the old couple before setting their house on fire.

In a statement released Friday, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Gazide was sentenced to two life terms for killing his grandparents, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and five years for arson.

The younger brother, Sebotso, was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for each of the two counts of murder, 12 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and five years for arson.

“Evidence revealed that Gazide plotted with Sebotso to kill their grandparents after the grandmother was granted a protection order against Sebotso,” said Shuping, who speaks for the NPA in the Free State and the Northern Cape.

The gruesome incident happened in Thaba Nchu on April 6 last year.

This was a just day after the elderly couple obtained a peace order against Sebetso following a stormy relationship with him.

According to Shuping, Gazide stabbed his grandmother with a screwdriver and hit her with a stick.

He then punched the grandfather in the face and instructed Sebotso to get a stone, which they used to smash his head.

“The accused then took some of their grandparents’ belongings and sold them,” said Shuping.

“They went back to their grandparents’ house in Moroka location, Thaba Nchu, the following day and set it alight.

“They used the money they got from selling their grandparents’ items to go to Johannesburg.”

The neighbours are said to have called the police and the Mangaung Fire Rescue Service when they saw the house on fire.

The police entered the house after the fire had been extinguished and found the grandparents dead.

The body of Mantoa Sebotso, 72, was found in the kitchen, while that of her husband, Lethakong Sebotso, 79, was found in the sitting room.

The cause of death was given as head injuries.

The accused were arrested in May and June last year.

In aggravation of sentence, state prosecutor Advocate Moipone Moroka argued before Judge Ephraim Molitsoane that the offences were pre-planned and premeditated and the court should impose harsh punishment on the accused because there was no justification to kill their grandparents.

“The accused left their grandparents for dead after assaulting them. They came back later to burn the house with the intention of destroying the evidence,” Moroka told the court.

“The deceased were killed in their own home, where they were supposed to be safe, by their grandchildren who failed to show any remorse for their actions,” argued the prosecutor.

“Instead they shifted the blame to the deceased by saying they treated them badly.

“The court, therefore, has a moral duty to send a message that these kinds of offences will not be tolerated.”

Judge Molitsoane concurred with the prosecutor that hefty sentences should be imposed on the accused.

He subsequently sentenced Gazide to an effective life imprisonment as he stated that he did not provide the court with any substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the minimum sentence prescribed by law.

Sebotso was sentenced to an effective 22 years as the judge was convinced that he played a minor role in the offences.

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