Woman jailed for life for killing family members for insurance payout

Johannesburg, (SA): A woman in South Africa has been sentenced to life imprisonment for orchestrating the murders of her cousin, sister, and nephew, all driven by a twisted desire for insurance payouts.

In January 2019, Keletsang Martha Motladile hired Inkabi to kill her cousin and was never caught. She received a lump sum from an insurance payout and two months later in March of the same year, she had her sister and her nephew killed, again to cash in on insurance payout.

She received a R347,000 lump sum (about Ugx 70m) from that. But her reign of terror came to an end weeks later when she was arrested together with a hitman.

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, the High Court of South Africa Free State Division, sitting in Bloemfontein sentenced her and the hitman, Molefi Molise, to life in prison for the murders of her three relatives.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane, Motladile’s cousin Ernest Mokhele was shot and killed on 26 January 2019 at his home in Botshabelo.

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Her sister Lesang Sarah Motladile and her son Bongani Goodwill Motladile were shot and killed by using automatic rifles in their home in the Ramakgari Location, near Thaba Nchu.

Senokoatsane said that the police began their investigations after the last two murders and Inkabi was arrested in Fouriesburg where the murder weapon was found in his possession. 

“The rifle was taken for ballistics and it came back positive for the two murders, it also came back positive for the murder of Ernest, who had been killed in January 2019. Police investigations linked the two incidents together where three people had lost their lives. The police forensic investigations connected Keletsang Motladile as having hired Molise to kill her two relatives as she had life policies worth R347 000 on them,” he said.

Senokoatsane said that the investigations also proved that Molise was paid an amount of R29 000 to kill the two. Molise was convicted of attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, three counts of murder, possession of a semi-automatic rifle without a licence, possession of ammunition and possession of a prohibited firearm. Motladile was convicted with the murder of her three relatives.

Senokoatsane said that the State Advocate Dansi Mpemvane argued for the court not to deviate from prescribed sentences for such heinous crimes. 

“There were no substantial and compelling circumstances. These murders were senseless, premeditated and callous. The accused did not take into consideration that the deceased had a right to life and protection when they killed them. The accused were motivated by greed, even taking the lives of family members. Molise showed no remorse, as he continued on his killing spree. The accused do not belong in society and the court should impose life imprisonment for both accused,” Mpemvane told the court.

The court sentenced Molefi Molise to life imprisonment for the three counts of murder, seven years for attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, 12 years imprisonment for attempted murder, 25 years imprisonment for possession of an automatic rifle without a licence, 15 years possession of a semi-automatic rifle, 12 years for ammunition for an automatic rifle and three years for ammunition for a semi-automatic rifle.

Motladile was sentenced to 30 years on each count of murder, an effective term of 60 years and the sentences are to run consecutively.

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