A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for kidnapping and raping two young girls, one of whom was suffocated to death in 2018. Linco Believe Makhubela was sentenced by the Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Graskop Magistrate’s Court after he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping and one count of culpable homicide. In his plea explanation, Makhubela said that, in March and June 2018, he had accosted two girls in Hazyview, before dragging them to secluded areas and raping them. The victims were aged seven and nine years old."In March 2018, Makhubela spotted a group of young girls playing in Nyongane Trust. He dragged the first victim into the bushes and raped her," NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said. "In June, he lured the second victim away with the promise of R10. He dragged her to his house in Masoyi and raped her."Whilst Makhubela was busy raping her, he covered her mouth with his hands to prevent her from screaming, until she stopped breathing."She subsequently died. "Makhubela was arrested in his hideout in Sabie after one of his victim’s lifeless body was found dumped in a ditch near Hazyview," Nyuswa said.During sentencing proceedings, prosecutor John Maenga told the court that, if it was not for the swift action of the police, Makhubela would have killed more children.In handing down sentence, acting Judge Takalani Ratshibvumo said: "Our children have a right to grow up and become adults without their rights being violated."Makhubela was sentenced to 10 years for both kidnappings, life imprisonment for each count of rape and a further 10 years for culpable homicide. The sentences will run concurrently as per the Correctional Services Act. Ratshibvumo further ordered that Makhubela's name to be entered into the Sexual Offences Register, that he be declared unfit to possess a firearm, and that he cannot work with children.