THE Pietermaritzburg High Court has sentenced eight men, among them Zimbabweans, to three life sentences and a total of 120 years in prison on Wednesday for cash-in-transit (CIT)-related crimes.
According to Warrant Officer Bonnie Nxumalo, on 1 September 2017, a team of Port Shepstone-based Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Special Task Force and Crime Intelligence Gathering received intelligence about a group of men who were going to attack a cash van that was travelling from Kokstad to Harding.
The officers acted on the information and spotted three vehicles on the N2 highway near Stafford Post.
“The police instructed the vehicles to stop but the occupants fired shots at the police. Police returned fire, fatally wounding three men and injuring one. Five assault rifles, two pistols and explosives were recovered,” said Nxumalo.
Eight men were arrested at the scene and were charged with conspiracy to commit a cash-in-transit robbery, murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of explosives as well as hijacking of two vehicles.
A police investigation revealed that two of their vehicles had been hijacked from the owners in Cato Manor, April 2017 and Alexander, June 2017 respectively.
The eight accused, Xolani Mpisane, 40, Njabulo Ngcobo, 48, Mzwenduna Blose, 41, Sabelo Buthelezi, 39, Thuthukani Dlamini, 35, Msizi Mkhize, 45, Sibusiso Ngwenya, 33, and Sipho Nyosi, 38, appeared in court during a lengthy trial until their successful conviction.
“They were all convicted and sentenced for the death of their three co-accused, hijacking, illegal possession of illegal firearms, illegal possession of explosives, illegal possession of ammunition and conspiracy to commit robbery.
They received life imprisonment with 120 year-imprisonment each which will run concurrently,” said Nxumalo.Police Minister Bheki Cele, said last month that the country was “under attack” by the CIT heists that keep going up in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.“We don’t have too many groups that are dealing with this matter,” he said.
Cele was addressing the media following the arrest of eight suspects who were involved in a shootout with the police in Rosettenville.
According to Cele, about 25 suspects were involved in the shootout after being cornered by police officers in their safe house in Rosettenville.
“Surprisingly, without fail, except one who comes from Botswana, they all come from Zimbabwe and KwaZulu-Natal. Four of them are from KwaZulu-Natal, the rest are from Zimbabwe and one from Botswana. They’re well armed and have AK47s, which means they [mean] business. We are working with heartless people that are prepared to kill,” said Cele at the time.