The accused maintained that he had killed the little girl as a result of being angry with her grandmother who had broken up with him.
Cape Town – Convicted rapist and murderer Xolani Lantu has been handed three life sentences for two counts of rape and murder as well as a five year sentence for the kidnapping of five-year-old Strand girl Minentle Lekhatha. The sentences will run concurrently.
Handing down the sentence, judge Derek Wille said Lantu had shown no remorse throughout the ordeal and he had only confessed once he had realised that police had evidence putting him at the footbridge where he had dumped the girl.
Wille also pointed out that the victim’s family had been left “broken and traumatised” by the senseless rape and murder of Minentle. “Siyabonga (the girl’s father) could not even eat for two weeks”.
The court also heard Minentle’s mother, Thandisiwe Lekhatha’s testimony that the death of her first-born child had affected her and her now four-year-old son badly. “He (the son) developed a violent streak and did not even want to go to school anymore as he used to go to school with his sister,” she said.
Earlier in the morning, Lantu’s defence attorney argued in mitigation that the 36-year-old had shown remorse for his actions when he pleaded guilty to the murder of the little girl. However, the court rejected this.
Throughout the trial, Lantu showed no emotion and sat in the court as if in a daze. His defence also maintained that he had killed Minentle as a result of being angry with her grandmother who had broken up with Lantu. This was also rejected by Judge Wille as speculative as Lantu had refused to take the stand.
Minentle’s mother welcomed the sentence but said: “it would not bring back my little girl.”
More on the story in Saturday’s edition of the Weekend Argus.