Trio jailed for ATM bombings

2014-09-18 00:00

THREE people were jailed this week for ATM bombings in KwaZulu Natal , including the first woman in South Africa to be convicted of crimes connected to ATM bombs.

Judge Phillip Nkosi, sitting in the high court at Madadeni, sentenced ringleader Sakhiwe Khumalo (35) of Paulpietersburg, and Makhawe Victor Nzimande (35) of Umlazi, to effective 22-year jail terms each.

Khumalo’s girlfriend, Gcinaphi Maureen Mnguni (25) of Paulpietersburg, was given an effective sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment as she played a lesser role in the incidents. The evidence revealed that although she was at the scene of the incidents, she did not play an active role in setting the explosions.

The trio were convicted on a total of 10 charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft — or attempted theft — of cash from the ATMs they struck, causing an explosion, and malicious injury to property.

The first bombing took place at Take and Pay Family Store at Umzinto on the night of December 31, 2010. The bombers escaped with R300 000 from First National Bank and Standard Bank.

The second bombing took place at Boxer Trading Store on January 26, 2011 at the FNB and Absa ATMs. However, they did not succeed in getting any cash.

On February 7 at Highflats, also in the Ixopo area, the ATM bombers struck the FNB ATM at Triangle Store and took R432 000. This was followed by another ATM bombing at Ingwavuma Spar during which the bombers made off with R308 000 belonging to FNB.

On each occasion the bombers forced open doors to gain entry to the stores where the ATMs were located prior to causing the explosions. The shops were extensively damaged by the explosions.

The accused were represented by advocate Louis Barnard and legal aid lawyer Xolani Sindane, and the prosecution was conducted by state advocate Dorian Paver.

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