Two men,who confessed to have killed a six-year old Indian-origin boy in the South African city of Pietermaritzburg last month,have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court.
The two men pleaded guilty to the murder of Raelin Devnarain and the brutal attack on his mother,Pradantha,at their home in the mainly Indian-residential area of Northdale,in Pietermaritzburg.
The presiding judge,Judge Anton Van Zyl,also sentenced the two to a further 35 years for the attempted murder of Pradantha and for aggravated robbery.
“Even if one accepts that the death of the child was not intended or desired,the ferocity of the attack takes one’s breath away,” said judge Van Zyl.
The post-mortem report for Raelin indicated many injuries to his head,causing bleeding beneath his skull. The attack on them,Van Zyl said,was so heinous it was difficult to imagine any worse.
He said the motive for the robbery was greed and there was no need to assault the victims with such violence as either of them could have subdued the victims.
Hadebe and Zuma had entered a guilty plea and offered a confession with their counsels indicating remorse on the part of the perpetrators.
But Van Zyl rejected this argument outright,saying that Hadebe and Zuma had not gone to the police before their arrests to confess and their expression of remorse was made in the face of overwhelming evidence against them.
Pradantha,who is still in critical condition at a hospital,has not yet been told about her son’s death in the attack. However,the steep sentences have been welcomed by the Devnarain family,Inspector Joey Jeevan said.
“Although the quick arrest,conviction and the sentencing of the murderers will not bring back the little boy,the family has expressed satisfaction that those convicted have been removed from society,” she said.
Pietermaritzburg is situated about 100km west of Durban and is famous for a Mahatma Gandhi statue located in the centre of the city.
Meanwhile,police here has intensified investigation into last week’s murder of 52-year-old Nimmi Jaggernath,who was stabbed 19 times in her home in the township of Merebank.
Jaggernath was the wife of a former political activist,Satish Jaggernath,who was killed in a plane crash in November 2002.
Before his death,Satish worked in the office of the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal,Sbu Ndebele. Reacting to the murder,Ndebele said the brutality of the crime was shocking.