08/06/2018 06:45 SAST | Updated 08/06/2018 07:44 SAST

10 Murder Cases That Shocked Us In 2018

Henri van Breda is just the latest in a long line of murder cases on the minds of South Africans this year.

Henri van Breda was sentenced for the murders of his mother, brother and father, and the attempted murder of his sister, on Thursday. But his is just the latest in a long line of dead bodies, arrests, suspects, faked suicides, and violent femicide cases that have been reported this year. Here are 10 murders that grabbed our attention this year.

1. Henri van Breda

The case was known as the "Stellenbosch family murders", before the surviving Van Breda family member turned himself in to the police in June, 2016.

While he has maintained he is not the killer, the 23-year-old axe murderer was sentenced on Thursday to three life sentences for the murders of his parents and brother, and received a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of his sister. He was also given a 12-month jail term for obstructing the course of justice, News24 reported.

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Henri van Breda.

Judge Siraj Desai described the attacks on Martin, Teresa, Rudi and Marli van Breda as "savage and continuous", and said the violence was "excessive and gratuitous", Eyewitness News reported.

According to News24, on Friday, he will be moved from Pollsmoor prison to the Drakenstein correctional centre, formerly famously known as the Victor Verster prison, where Nelson Mandela spent the last 14 years of his 27 years in prison. Van Breda will likely spend the rest of his life there.

2. Krugersdorp murders

The so-called "Steyn gang" gripped South Africa's attention with their strange tattoos of crosses, and their pictures painted like goths. The "Krugersdorp murders" were initially thought to be the work of a serial killer, or occult killings, until it emerged in court this year that they were committed for little more than money and a grudge.


The five members of the gang killed 10 people in total, mostly for money, and sometimes because they followed a rival church leader. According to TimesLive, Le Roux Steyn, one of the killers, entered a plea bargain with the state and pleaded guilty to 18 counts, including murder, robbery and racketeering.

His mother, Marinda, also pleaded guilty, and received 11 life sentences for the murders, plus 115 years for other crimes related to the murders, including fraud and robbery.

3. Karabo Mokoena

The 22-year-old's murder at the hands of her abusive boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, became synonymous with South Africa's high rate of femicide. In May Mantsoe was sentenced to 32 years in prison for her murder. The court found him guilty of murdering Mokoena and burning her body beyond recognition.

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Theories abounded that the murder was a ritual killing, and the investigating officer told TimesLive that 60 percent of Mokoena's organs were missing when her body was discovered, including her heart.

But the court reportedly did not accept it, and details of Mantsoe's abuse emerged. He was also found guilty of assaulting her, as he once beat her up so badly that she ended up in hospital.

4. Hannah Cornelius

The Stellenbosch student was reportedly hijacked and kidnapped, along with her friend, in the early hours of May 27, 2017. Earlier this year, four men accused of Cornelius' murder appeared in court.


The men are accused of raping, assaulting, and killing Cornelius. She was stabbed several times and her head had been crushed with a rock, TimesLive reported. Their trial will go ahead after plea and sentencing negotiations fell through, according to News24.

5. Stella school murders

Two Grade 11 pupils were found hanged in their school hostel in the small farming town of Stella in the North West in May this year. According to News24, the girls' murders were made to look like suicides by hanging, but autopsies showed that they were strangled to death.


Xander Bylsma, an ex-boyfriend of one of the girls, was arrested for their murders.

6. Siam Lee

The charred remains of 20-year-old Siam Lee's body were found in a sugar cane plantation two days after she was reported missing in January this year. It was initially thought she had been abducted by a spurned lover, according to TimesLive.


7. Poppie

Three-year-old Poppie van der Merwe died in 2016, in what was later found to be a case of child abuse.


Her parents, Kobus and Louisa Koekemoer, were sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years each for her murder, and for the eight months of abuse the child suffered before succumbing to her injuries, according to News24.


8. Jason Rohde

Prominent Stellenbosch businessman Jason Rohde is currently on trial for the murder of his wife, Susan. Rohde claims that Susan killed herself after an argument about an affair.


She was found with a cord wrapped around her neck, News24 reported. But the state claims Rohde strangled her to death and tried to make her murder look like a suicide.

9. Coligny

In a trial currently underway in the North West, two farmers stand accused of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu for stealing sunflower seeds in April 2017. They allegedly pushed him from a moving bakkie.

This week, a witness broke down on the stand, according to News24, describing how he witnessed the teenager being pushed from the vehicle. The witness claimed the teenager was bleeding through his mouth, nose and ears when he saw him.


The farmers say that they were taking Mosheu to the police station and that he jumped from the vehicle and broke his neck.

10. Ennersdale shooting

Sibusiso Tshabalala broke down in court on Thursday, describing how he accidentally shot dead his son outside his school this week, thinking he was a hijacker.


The father, from Ennersdale, handed himself over to the police and was released on a warning, Eyewitness News reported.