South African media say a man convicted of raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl in a gruesome case that shocked the country has been sentenced to life in jail.

The government on Friday welcomed the sentencing of Johannes Kana, saying South Africans should reflect on the impact of violence against females in a country that suffers a high rate of rape.

Many people were horrified by the death of the girl, who was mutilated and left for dead earlier this year on a construction site in Bredasdorp, a town in the Western Cape province.

The South African Press Association quotes Eric Ntabazalila, a spokesman for national prosecutors, as saying the sentence hopefully sends a message that courts will not tolerate crimes against women and children.