Robber ‘needed cash to pay fees’

2010-05-17 00:00

TWO men — one of whom needed money to pay his daughter’s university fees — pleaded guilty to the robbery with aggravating circumstances of local contractor Bongani Patrick Ngubane (52), who was shot several times outside the Golden Horse Casino on April 16.

Regional court magistrate Paul Ableman was told on Friday that Ngubane has recovered physically, but said during judgment the court could not be certain what psychological trauma he suffered and will continue to suffer.

Bongani Molefe (38), a carpenter who admitted he planned the robbery and was involved in a scuffle with Ngubane during which shots were fired, was jailed effectively for 11 years with a further four years’ imprisonment conditionally suspended for five years.

His co-accused and neighbour, Xolani Dlomo (32), who played a lesser role but who was to share the proceeds of the robbery, was jailed for an effective nine years. A further six years’ imprisonment was conditionally suspended for five years.

The court heard that Molefe was desperate for money to pay for his daughter’s university education. He owed R25 333 for fees, according to a document shown to the court.

Molefe, who has five children, earned R2 200 as a carpenter and it was clear he didn’t have the money to meet his financial commitments, Ableman said.

In a statement read to the court by legal aid defence lawyer Carl Groenewald, Molefe said he met Ngubane in the bank two weeks before the robbery and learned that he regularly drew cash for his staff wages there.

After enlisting the aid of Dlomo and borrowing a firearm, they waited for Ngubane at the bank. They followed him into a taxi, and when he alighted outside the casino Molefe produced the gun and confronted him.

“[Ngubane] reacted by grabbing my hand, which had the firearm. A struggle ensued and as a result of us wrestling for possession of the firearm a number of shots were fired. The complainant fell to the ground, dislodging the bag with money in it,” said Molefe. He said Dlomo picked up the bag and they fled.

They were arrested shortly afterwards, still in possession of the cash and the firearm.

Molefe was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, while Dlomo was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Prosecutor Pranisha Kasool withdrew a charge of attempted murder against both men.

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