Hijacker gets 25 years’ jail for crime in which nephew was killed

2012-09-14 00:00

THE high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday sentenced convicted hijacker Washington Nxasana (44) to an effective 25 years’ imprisonment for hijacking an Isuzu bakkie near Cedara on January 29 last year.

Nxasana, a father of six, pleaded guilty and admitted in a statement to court that he had fired two shots at the occupants of the bakkie, Rundeer Sukhoo and Sagathevan Naidoo, which wounded Sukhoo in his thigh.

Nxasana said his 17-year-old nephew, Sanele Ngobese, who participated in the hijacking, was shot dead by police who pursued them from the crime scene.

Although his legal aid attorney, Eric Zaca submitted that this ought to be viewed as a mitigating factor in Nxasana’s favour, acting high court Judge M.T. Ncube, said he believed the death of the youngster was aggravating.

When considering sentence the court also had to regard evidence in aggravation given by Sukhoo, who testified that the shooting had a lasting effect on his life.

He told the court he’d spent a month in hospital and had to undergo surgery after the incident.

Three bullet fragments were still lodged in his thigh and cannot be removed and he used crutches to get around.

He could no longer drive, had been unable to find employment and could not easily socialise due to his physical condition, he said.

At the time of the incident he was temporarily employed as a delivery driver.

Sukhoo also told the court that his 10-year relationship with a woman had broken up due to the physical effects of his injury.

He and Naidoo had both been “traumatised” by the hijacking.

In a statement to court, ­Nxasana said he and his nephew were at Cedara Agricultural College, where they used to go to buy milk, when he saw the Isuzu bakkie.

Ngobese spoke to the driver and the Isuzu drove off.

Nxasana said Ngobese asked him to accompany him to some nearby informal settlements.

On the way there they saw the same bakkie approaching and Ngobese suggested that they should rob the driver as he needed money to further his studies.

Nxasana said Ngobese gave him a firearm.

They flagged the Isuzu down and he pointed a firearm at the driver and passenger, demanding the keys to the bakkie and money.

After being handed cash and the keys he instructed the occupants to jump into the bin of the bakkie, which they did.

While in the back, Naidoo kicked the door of the canopy, hitting Nxasana in the face and struck him with a bottle of cooldrink, he said.

“It was at that stage that I fired two shots … and as a result of that Sukhoo got shot on his thigh,” he said.

Nxasana said that while he and Ngobese were fleeing, Ngobese took possession of the gun.

While they were running they realised that they were being pursued by police.

Nxasana said he stopped and then heard several shots being fired.

“I saw Ngobese falling down with his firearm,” he said.

Nxasana said police recovered R1 730 from him which he had taken from Naidoo during the robbery.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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