The two teenage boys who admitted to killing two teen girls in a satanic initiation ritual will spend 14 years locked up.
Sentencing them in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela said they will each serve the first four years at a youth care centre and the remainder at a prison to be determined by the centre.
This follows the death of Chwayita Ratazwayo, 15 and Thandeka Mokganetsi, 14, in February last year. The two girls were found dead in a field near Dobsonville, Soweto, wearing their school uniforms and with deep incisions on their throats and bodies.
The two boys aged 16 and 17 admitted to murdering the girls during a satanic baptism ritual.
Pleading guilty to the crime, the boys said that Ratazwayo and Mokganetsi had asked to join satanism and they killed the girls during their initiation.
The boys said they had brought razors and candles to perform the ritual and that they both recited prayers and read from the “dark kingdom bible”.
Maumela said though the boys had shown remorse and taken responsibility for their actions, he could not impose a lesser sentence.
He said the teenagers were not novices in satanism and had told the court that they were not influenced by anyone in joining the cult. They had gained knowledge in satanism through their own research, Maumela said.
“Accused 1 [the 16-year-old] was a Sub-Prince and accused 2 [the 17-year-old] was a Prince within the ranks of satanism,” said Maumela.
Ratazwayo’s mother, Pheliswa, expressed her dissatisfaction at the sentence imposed on the teenagers.
“I’m not happy. The sentence is too lenient, but the prosecutor explained to us how young offenders are sentenced,” she said.
Pheliswa could not hold back tears as she spoke fondly about her daughter and her promising future. She said her daughter had been a good swimmer and had promised her that by the age of 18 she would have qualified to compete in the Olympic Games.
She also had dreams of becoming a doctor.
“They [the teenage boys] took bread out of my mouth. My daughter was a promising star. She promised to look after me. She wanted to go to university just like her elder brother,” said an emotional Pheliswa.
She said all she had been doing since her daughter died was cry. Even though she tries to forget the fateful day, the neighbourhood children always mention her daughter and how they miss the swimming lessons she gave them.
Mokganetsi’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth Potsanyane, described her as a “wonderful” child. She said her death had left a hole in the family and that everyone missed her.
Potsanyane said before the incident, she did not believe that satanism existed.