Men get life for fiery death of guards
Johannesburg - Seven men received 44 years and four life sentences each from the Polokwane Circuit Court of the High Court on Tuesday for killing four security guards, Limpopo police said.
Emmanuela Tshepo Malebo, 34, Molefe Joe Malebese, 47, Kenneth Moitshela, 35, Manuel Baros, 37, Themba Asser Ndjamba, 35, Pheladi Lawrence Mabitsela, 26, and Malesela Wilson Manaka, 30, each received 44 years for robbery and possession of automatic rifles and live ammunition, Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Ramatseba said.
"The suspects, who are from Gauteng, North West and Limpopo provinces, were also sentenced to four life [sentences] each after the judge found them guilty of brutally killing [the] four security guards."
They killed Hennie Van Rensburg, 22, Dirk Kleynhans, 28, Marcus Malete, 25, and Deon Steyn, 19, by setting alight their cash-in-transit vehicle while they were trapped inside it, during an attempted heist along the Baltimore/Marken Road on 29 September 2006.
An eighth man, Alpheus Mziza, 30, could only be linked to vehicle theft and received a jail term of four years.
Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant General Simon Mpembe welcomed the sentence and commended the officers who helped secure the convictions.
The SABC earlier quoted the judge saying, while handing down sentence: "I cannot sufficiently imagine what the deceased went through, trapped in the motor vehicle. One wonders what went on in the minds of the accused when they set the motor vehicle alight."