The family of murdered University of Cape Town (UCT) student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, has thanked the police and justice system following the handing down of three life sentences to the man convicted of her rape and murder.

Former Post Office teller, Luyanda Botha, pleaded guilty in the High Court in Cape Town to all four charges against him and entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the state.

Mrwetyana’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Khayelitsha, days after she went to collect a parcel at a Post Office in Claremont on 24 August. Botha admitted to luring Uyinene to the area where he raped her, while she tried to fight him off. He will not be eligible for parole for the next 25 years.

Family spokesperson Vuyani Mrwetyana says Botha, who has a previous conviction of robbery, has shown no remorse for what he has done.

“Because he has only been able to make that confession on realising that in fact, the investigation officer had already seen where she was buried and as if that was not enough, in order to hide all evidence, he tried to destroy the body,” says Vuyani Mrwetyana.

Meanwhile, children and women’s rights organisation, Ilitha Labantu, has welcomed Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlope’s decision to give three life sentences to Luyanda Botha.

Ilitha Labantu’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Monakali, says Mrwetyana’s rape and murder served as a catalyst in the national outrage against gender-based violence.

“We hope that this case serves as a deterrent for anyone in society who hopes to perpetrate similar crimes. Sadly, justice is not served until there is a cultural change in society because as civil society we want to question what is it about men in society that makes them brutalise our women. We hope that with the prosecution that there is a cultural change in society,” says Monakali.

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