Friend’ plotted robbery

2012-07-23 00:00

PHUMZILE Radebe was the archetypical wolf in sheep’s clothing — pretending to be a good friend while secretly plotting to steal her friends’ valuables.

One of her victims was Linda Ndlovu, who welcomed the effective 30-year jail sentence imposed on Radebe (37) on Friday.

Ndlovu learnt that it was Radebe who had masterminded a robbery of her home in Bisley in 2010.

Ndlovu’s three-year-old daughter was at home in the care of domestic worker Margaret Mbambo when the robbers struck on February 15, 2010.

Ndlovu said that when she got news of the robbery, she rushed home in a panic, but neither Mbambo nor the child was injured.

But during another robbery orchestrated by Radebe — at Alexandra Road extension, Pelham, about two weeks later — domestic worker Kanyisa Pamela Mabungane was strangled and killed.

Ndlovu told The Witness she had been betrayed by Radebe, who was her childhood friend and had often stayed over at her house.

“I am very happy she is going to jail for a long time, because it is what she deserves,” she said after the trial.

Pietermaritzburg high court Acting Judge Rose Mogwera found Radebe guilty of both robberies and the murder of Mabungane.

She said Radebe had been the mastermind behind the robberies, abusing her friendship with the employees at the houses which she and the robbers she had engaged had targeted.

Although Radebe was not present when Mabungane was killed, and the murder was not premeditated, Mogwera found Radebe was indirectly guilty of the crime.

Mogwera said the most aggravating feature of the case was the careful planning of the robberies and Radebe’s betrayal of her friends’ trust, which was reprehensible.

“A friend knows that he or she can trust another friend implicitly with each and every aspect of his or her life, so it is a very serious matter,” she said.

A key witness at Radebe’s trial was one of the robbers who participated in the incidents, Jabulani Ngubo (31), who is already serving a 25-year term for his role.

He told the court that Radebe knew the victims of the robberies and told him and others which houses they should target. She also provided them with intimate “inside” knowledge of the goods they’d expect to find, including a firearm, jewellery and laptops.

According to his evidence, Radebe also gave them the name of the dog at the Bisley property, so they could call it and avoid any problems with the animal.

Ngubo said he and his accomplice, Ntuthuko Majola, had strangled Mabungane in their struggle to overpower her during the robbery at the house where she worked.

He said Radebe had gone to the house with them on the day in question, and had entered first because she knew Mabungane.

He and Majola subsequently met the women outside and asked for water. When Mabungane went indoors to fetch it, they followed her.

Ngubo said he and Majola tied up both women to avoid suspicion falling on Radebe.

The court heard that Mabungane managed to free herself later and was strangled by the two men in an ensuing struggle.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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