Convicted robbers plead for leniency

2013-07-04 00:00

THREE of the five men found guilty of multiple charges, including attempted murder and robbery of a pension pay point at Kranskop in 2010, pleaded with the high court yesterday to show them leniency, while continuing to maintain their innocence.

All five accused in the case, Sizwe Ntshangase (27) Muzi Ndawonde (28), Mlungisi Magwaza (24), Bongi­kwema Langa (32) and Phumlani Mpembe (28), were convicted by Acting Judge Tule-tu Tonjeni earlier this year of the main count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and nine counts of attempted murder of civilians and policemen.

They were also convicted of possession of suspected stolen property, and some were found guilty of unlawful possession of firearms.

The amount of money stolen during the robbery could not be established, according to evidence led during the trial.

The attempted murder victims include a four-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl who were among five people injured in a gun battle in the street outside kwaSiyabonga butchery and supermarket in Kranskop’s main street as the robbers fled the scene with their loot on July 2, 2010.

Another shoot-out followed later between several of the robbers and police who pursued them. Some of them were later arrested.

The accused were found to have been part of a large gang that either entered or stood guard outside the supermarket on pension pay day armed with firearms.

Local police were alerted to the robbery in progress and they rushed to the scene where a shoot-out ensued with the robbers.

Police subsequently gave chase and flushed several of the robbers out of their hiding places in the mountains of Msinga.

Giving evidence in mitigation of sentence yesterday, Ntshangase, Ndawonde and Magwaza pleaded with the court to show them leniency, also insisting they did not commit the crimes of which they have been convicted.

They each detailed their personal circumstances to the court, and asked that it take into account that they were the sole supporters for members of their families and children prior to their arrest in 2010.

“I am still a youth and I still have dreams. I want to further my education and I ask the court to be lenient … I never committed this offence.

“I ask the court to consider my dreams and my wishes and my children,” Ndawonde said in his evidence.

The case will continue today with further evidence in mitigation by the remaining accused.

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