End of the road: Zimbabwean man receives 3 life sentences plus 226 years in South African jail


A 34-year-old Zimbabwean man was on Tuesday jailed for three life sentences and an additional 226 years’ imprisonment by the Pretoria High Court after he was convicted for 26 counts for crimes including, rape, murder, illegal migration, kidnapping, house breaking, escaping from jail, unlawful possession or a fire arm and ammunition, and robbery.

National Prosecution Authority (NPA), Gauteng Division: Pretoria spokesperson Ms Lumka Mahanjana confirmed the sentences and that the man was arrested after escaping from jail in 2020 where he had been serving a 15-year jail term for house breaking and robbery.

“Leonard Lemmy Chauke (34), from Olievenhoutbosch, an illegal Zimbabwean migrant has been sentenced by the Pretoria High Court to three life terms for two counts of rape and murder,” she said.

“He was also sentenced to 80 years’ direct imprisonment, for four counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, 90 years’ direct imprisonment for six counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, 15 years’ direct imprisonment, for five counts of housebreaking, 15 years’ direct imprisonment for three counts of kidnapping.

“In addition he will serve 10 years’ direct imprisonment for rape, 12 years’ direct imprisonment for four counts of unlawful possession of ammunition, two years’ direct imprisonment for escaping from custody and two years’ direct imprisonment for being illegal in the country.”

Ms Mahanjana said Chauke was meant to serve a 15-year sentence at Kgosi Maphuru Correctional Services, for housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances, when he escaped in December 2020, only after two months of his sentence.

She said after his escape, Chauke and his accomplices committed crimes in and around Olievenhoutbosch and Wierda Park where they used the same modus operandi.

The man and his team would break into the complainants’ houses, robbing them of their belongings and taking the female victims to the nearby veld and gang rape them.

“The youngest of his victims was a 17-year-old girl. On June 7, 2022, Chauke and his accomplice arrived shot and killed a 35-year-old man at a squatter camp in Olievenhoutbosch”, said Miss Mahanjana.

“Chauke was then arrested two days later after a witness to the murder pointed him out to the police and has been in custody since.

In court, Chauke pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him and told the court that he committed the offences while under the influence of drugs”.

The official added that through his legal representative, Chauke asked the court to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentences because he has been in custody since his arrest.

However, prosecutor Advocate Mokautu Masilo, argued that Chauke did not show any remorse for the crimes he committed, instead, he is hiding behind his use of drugs.

“Furthermore, the crimes committed were heinous and were done in a meticulous way where Chauke and his accomplice would scout and attack vulnerable people and threaten them with a weapon,” she added.

“Moreover, Masilo handed in seven victim impact statements facilitated by the Court Preparation Officer, Lebogang Lebese, where the victims expressed how the incidents have emotionally affected them. Therefore, asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence”.

Handing down the sentence, Judge Portia Phahlane, agreed with the state that Chauke did not show any remorse, and that he was convicted of serious offences prevalent in that country, and that the court must protect the law-abiding citizens from such criminals.

The judge said everyone has a right to life, which should not be taken away from them and that communities are terrorized by people like Chauke and that a clear message should be sent that such behaviour is not accepted making his sentence very appropriate.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi welcomed the sentence handed by the court and applauded the outstanding work by the investigating officer Sgt Edward Matsobane and the prosecutor.

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