Pretoria tycoon jailed for 35 years
Johannesburg - A Pretoria tycoon who kidnapped, assaulted and robbed people while pretending to be a policeman was jailed for in effect 35 years by the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.
William Mbatha, who is known for his fast cars and expensive clothes, was sentenced to a total of 123 years’ imprisonment, but some of the sentences are to run concurrently.
Acting Judge Narren Pandya said that, despite the evidence, Mbatha had shown no remorse and maintained that he was not responsible for any of the crimes for which he had been found guilty.
"It is clear the robberies were well planned and the complainants were tracked and stalked," said Pandya.
He sentenced Mbatha to 15 years on each of five counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and five years on each of three counts of kidnapping.
He received five years on each of four counts of possession of an illegal firearm; six months on each of three counts of impersonating a police officer; and six months on each of three counts of wearing a police uniform.
Two of Mbatha's victims, businessman Ismail Omar and his wife Celeste were in court for the sentencing.
Omar said afterwards that he was "very happy" Mbatha would go to jail for "a long time".
"This man and his friends followed me, put me in handcuffs, put a bag over my head and tried to suffocate me and then invaded my home terrifying my wife, my three little children and their friend who was visiting," he said.
Omar said his children were still too scared to sleep in their own rooms, nearly three years after the crime.
He was also still seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist to cope with the trauma.
"This changed my family forever," he said.
"Mbatha can't look at me in the eye because he, also a father with little children, knows what he did."
The Omars praised the police, saying "excellent detective work" and the emotional support of policemen friends were helping them to move on with their lives.