20 years for ATM bomber

2008-11-23 00:00

High Court Acting Judge Sipho Nxumalo on Friday sentenced a Soweto father of three, Mzwakhe Gule (44), to an effective 20 years in prison for taking part in the bombing of an ATM machine at Imbali on July 11 last year.

Two of the five charges of which Gule was found guilty were for the murder of two co-perpetrators who were shot by police. Gule was wounded.

Nxumalo, sitting with two assessors, said it is clear the people who bomb ATMs do so out of greed and are not “needy or desperate people”. They own substantial assets.

He said the prevalence of the offence was demonstrated by the statistics — 1 000 ATM bombings in 2007/2008, of which 160 were in KwaZulu-Natal.

“They [ATM bombers] want to become rich within a short space of time and be recognised in the community where they stay, not having earned and worked for what they have. This attitude and conduct must stop,” he said.

The court heard Gule has three children — two still at school and the eldest a university student. His wife is a housewife, and prior to his arrest he earned about R8 000 per month operating a transport service for schoolchildren.

He owns his house in Dube, Soweto.

Nxumalo refused Gule’s application for leave to appeal against his convictions. He sentenced him to a total of 63 years’ imprisonment on all the charges, but ordered that some should run concurrently so that he will serve 20 years.

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