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The South African government on Thursday welcomed the sentencing of child killer Sibusiso Mpungose who received four life sentences for killing his four children.

This harsh sentence handed to Mpungose will serve as a warning that abusing and killing defenceless children comes with a heavy price, the government said in a statement.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal Province meted out the sentence on Wednesday. Mpungose told the court that he killed his children because he suspected his wife of having an extra-marital affair.

Mpungose pleaded guilty to hanging Kuhlekonke, 4, Khwezi, 6, Siphesihle, 10, and stepdaughter Ayakha Jiyane, 17 in September.

Crime against children and women will not be tolerated, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

The government will continue to strengthen its instruments that seek to ensure the safety of its citizens especially the vulnerable, said Williams.

Access to justice for victims of gender-based violence is one of the priorities of the government, she said.

Abuse and violence against women and children is a societal issue, which requires a collaborative effort to address this scourge, Williams said.

She encouraged South Africans to be responsible and speak out if they suspect a child is being abused.

All members of the public must do more to protect children as they are the future of South Africa, Williams said.

Communities should work with their local police stations to root out perpetrators, she added.

Mpungose’s case highlights the seriousness of violence against children in South Africa.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one in three children experiences violence in South Africa, often by an adult who is supposed to be taking care of them.

Official figures show that 800 to 900 children are murdered every year in the country.

The United Nations ranks South Africa as among the world’s 10 most violent nations. Enditem

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