Rietkol farm murderers receive harshest sentence of life in jail

The high court in Mpumalanga has sentenced Thomas Rueben Tivane and Kenneth Mashego for the murder of Chantel Kershaw on her farm in 2020.

The duo was sentenced on Thursday to life imprisonment for murder and house robbery. The crimes were committed at the farm in Rietkol, Sundra.

The court heard how Tivane and Mashego entered the farm an hour before midday and attacked the 44-year-old Kershaw, who had just arrived from town.

According to a police report, the convicted murderers found Kershaw and an employee, Themba Moses Masuku, loading some equipment onto a bakkie.

Police spokesperson Donald Mdhluli said Masuku was part of the plan.

“This employee reported that he was taking out the equipment from the garage when the two accused held him at gunpoint and forced him to take off his trousers,” said Mdhluli.

The employee had his hands tied using his trouser, according to Mdhluli.

Masuku told the court that he heard Kershaw’s screams outside before she went silent.

It was during the course of the probe that investigators unearthed information that implicated Masuku to the farm murder.

Masuku was arrested and charged accordingly. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in March.

Explaining the events, Mdhluli said Tivane and Mashego proceeded to the house where they found Kershaw’s mother, who was 65 years old at the time.

They assaulted her with a firearm before locking her inside one of the rooms. They also locked a domestic worker inside the bathroom. 

Mdhluli said Kershaw was found half-naked and strangled with a rope. She was certified dead on the scene by the paramedics.

“The investigation team worked tirelessly in collaboration with the prosecutors to present a watertight case against the two accused, which led to their conviction and sentencing.”

The court sentenced Tivane to life imprisonment for murder and 20 years for robbery. Mashego also received life imprisonment for murder and 15 years for robbery.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Manamela said the sentence will hopefully serve as a deterrence to perpetrators of farm attacks.

“We really acknowledge with much appreciation the exceptional and outstanding work by the neighbourhood watch which led to the swift arrest of the accused,” said Manamela.

“We also thank the investigation team for its collaborative efforts with other stakeholders including the prosecution team and the judiciary, which culminated in this achievement.” 


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