Armed robbers get long jail sentences

2014-05-16 00:00

TWO men convicted of involvement in a supermarket robbery and a hijacking in the city during 2009 were given long jail sentences by a high court judge in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

William Mbhele (61), who was convicted of involvement in both armed robberies, was jailed for 18 years effectively.

His co-accused, Bongani Bhengu (47), who was found guilty only of taking part in the robbery at Sizanani Supermarket in Retief Street, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Judge Trevor Gorven said having regard to their previous convictions it was safe to say that both accused have a propensity to commit crimes.

This also showed that both of them were poor candidates for rehabilitation.

Both men were convicted of taking part in an armed hold-up at Sizanani Supermarket in Retief Street on March 5, 2009, during which one of their co-perpetrators was shot and killed during a gun battle with the store owners.

The robbers made off with R55 000 in cash and airtime vouchers worth an estimated R25 000.

Mbhele was also found guilty of robbing Derrick King and his son, Selwyn, at gunpoint in Alexandra Park and making off with King’s Toyota Camry car, a wallet, wristwatch, cellphone and a bicycle. The incident took place on May 1, 2009.

Judge Gorven said Mbhele’s two previous convictions for possession of a firearm and ammunition, and another two previous convictions for robberies were relevant even though some dated back more than 10 years.

Bhengu also had previous convictions for housebreaking, theft and robbery.

Gorven said the robberies in the present case were both serious.

Firearms were used by the perpetrators and a member of the gang had been shot dead when the victims defended themselves and shots were exchanged.

The judge said crimes like these are rife, and society is “heartily sick of people who commit robbery with aggravating circumstances”.

“The interests of society demand that people who commit offences like this are punished, and that some incentive is given to others not to follow in their footsteps,” he said.

He said the attitude of society towards these crimes was reflected by the fact the legislature has prescribed minimum sentences for them.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.