‘Educated’ Dargle robber gets 17 years

2010-09-09 00:00

A MEMBER of a gang that accosted and robbed Collin and Nola Barrett at gunpoint at their Dargle farm on September 16 last year was sentenced to an effective 17 years in prison yesterday.

Judge Anton van Zyl ordered that Zakhele Ntamo (31) of Imbali must serve 11 years of his sentence before being considered for parole.

Ntamo’s trial was separated from that of two co-accused last week when he decided to plead guilty to a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances as well as unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition that were stolen during the robbery.

Ntamo admitted that after the robbery he erased the serial number from the weapon.

The state withdrew a charge of murder arising from the killing of the Barretts’ gardener, Erasmus Mncube, during the incident.

In his statement, Ntamo said ­Mncube was involved in planning the robbery and provided information to the gang.

He said that during the incident, one of his co-robbers said he shot Mncube in anger because they were unable to find the money that he had promised.

Van Zyl said sentencing Ntamo was particularly “challenging” because he is different from other robbery accused.

He is older and is considerably more educated than the average accused, having obtained a diploma in computers and administration. He ought to have been a useful citizen, but instead participated in a robbery, which ruined his life.

Van Zy also took into account that Ntamo is a first offender and that he co-operated with police after his arrest and pleaded guilty.

The judge said, however, it is clear the robbery was pre-planned. Ntamo’s role was to supply transport to and from the robbery scene, but he also played an active role in the hold-up during which the occupants of the house were threatened at gunpoint, terrorised and robbed.

Although they did not find a lot of money, the robbers nonetheless took a considerable number of items, and goods to the value of R25 000, including a firearm, were not recovered.

Van Zyl said the fact that Ntamo admitted that he had erased the serial number from the firearm indicated that he intended to sell it or use it in future.

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