Trader’s killers jailed for 33 years

2012-12-19 00:00

TWO men arrested for the murder and aggravated robbery of Pietermaritzburg shop owner Irshaad Basheer four years ago received 33-year jail terms in the high court yesterday.

Acting Judge Yvonne Xaba and her assessors accepted that Sithembiso Mchunu (20) and Njabulo Ncwane (24) had not planned to kill Basheer during the robbery at his store, Sweets Galore, in Khan Road, Raisethorpe, on August 20, 2008.

She commented, however, that it was worrying that they’d come all the way from Umlazi to commit crimes in Pietermaritzburg in order to make it difficult for police to find them.

Basheer was shot in the stomach during the robbery and died in hospital.

The robbers were identified by Basheer’s former employee, Morgan Pillay, who witnessed the incident.

He described how the two men had entered the shop posing as customers, approached Basheer at the counter, held him at gunpoint demanding money and assaulted him.

He saw the gunman put the gun against Basheer’s chest and heard a shot go off.

After he was wounded, Basheer handed money over to his attackers, who also took airtime vouchers and his cellphone before fleeing.

Mchunu and Ncwane were arrested after a Northdale house robbery in September that year.

Thembisile Mweli and her nine-year-old daughter were held up at gunpoint in their Cassimjee Road home. After finding no valuables in the house, the robbers took Mweli’s cellphone and sped away in a white BMW.

Police were alerted and Mountain Rise police officers spotted the car in the Raisethorpe area soon after.

Mchunu and Ncwane were arrested and Mweli’s cellphone and an unlicensed pistol were recovered.

The bullet taken from Basheer’s body was linked to the pistol.

The court sentenced the two to 10 years’ imprisonment for Basheer’s murder and 15 years for the robbery, 15 years for the robbery at Mweli’s house, three years for the illegal possession of a firearm and two years for unlawful possession of ammunition.

Parts of the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, giving them effective prison terms of 33 years.

Acting Judge Xaba refused the men leave to appeal the convictions and sentences.

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