Men jailed for 30 years for crime spree

2013-07-25 00:00

TWO uMlazi men who took part in a crime spree, including an armed hold-up at a pension pay point at Mid-Illovo on May 6, 2008, were yesterday handed sentences of more than 30 years’ imprisonment each.

Acting Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Khosi Hadebe ordered that Eric Malunga (23) and Thami Msomi (29) serve 20 years of their sentences before they can be considered for parole.

Malunga was jailed effectively for 34 years and Msomi for 33.

The judge said the various victims of their crimes had all suffered trauma.

In the case of Msomi — who was found guilty of involvement in the robbery with aggravating circumstances of members of the Herbst family in Umhlali on March 12, 2008 — the judge said mere robbery in that case wasn’t enough for the attackers.

They’d also threatened to murder Willem and Melishea Herbst’s 13-year-old son, Armand with his father’s weapon, which had been taken from a safe, and to infect Melishea with HIV/Aids by gang-raping her.

“The dignity and ability of Mr Herbst to protect his family was summarily usurped … Mrs Herbst said that, although the incident was said to have lasted 45 minutes, the clock seemed to have stopped and it seemed to last three years,” the judge said.

She said another victim, Pretty Ngcobo — who was robbed of her Mitsubishi Pajero in Durban on April 27, 2008 — had suffered as a result of the theft.

The vehicle was newly bought and the theft affected her business.

She later had to pay to have her car repaired after it was recovered.

Turning to the involvement of the men in the robbery of R753 580 from the pension pay point at Jabula Store at Mid-Illovo, the judge said the police and teams who go out to pay pensions to the community “put themselves in harm’s way”.

She said the police involved had to be applauded for their co-ordinated reaction under fire during the robbery.

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