Former cop gets 15 years’ jail for hijacking

2013-03-21 00:00

A FORMER Alexandra Road police constable was jailed for 15 years for his role in hijacking a Unilever truck and contents worth R273 000.

Sizwe Israel Ndlovu (25) pleaded not guilty but was convicted in January after his uncle, Goodenough Ndlovu, who pleaded guilty to the same ­heist and was imprisoned for nine years, testified against him.

The incident happened at Ashburton in August 2010.

The Unilever truck driver, Sindile Lawana, was flagged down in a police double-cab with siren and blue lights turned on.

Ndlovu had signed for the police vehicle and its tracker was deactivated before the robbery.

Pietermaritzburg regional magistrate Mpume Linda said yesterday that the aggravating features of the crime outweighed the mitigating factors.

Ndlovu had argued he was a first offender, had a job, supported family members and was convicted on circumstancial evidence.

His attorney, Nasen Naicker, yesterday asked for a wholly suspended jail sentence plus correctional supervision.

But Linda said the only appropriate sentence was jail.

She said when there were doubts about continuing with the plan, Ndlovu, the police officer, had urged them to go ahead with it. Ndlovu had plenty of time to withdraw from the crime, but had nevertheless continued.

She said that courts tried to keep first offenders out of jail, but they did not have the right to avoid jail.

In terms of minimum sentencing legislation, 15 years’ jail is prescribed for a first armed robbery conviction, unless substantial and compelling circumstances justify a more lenient sentence. Courts should not deviate from prescribed sentences on flimsy grounds, Linda said.

People expected offenders to be punished in terms of the law and that was the only way the community’s trust could be regained.

She said that as a police officer, ­Ndlovu was entrusted to uphold the law, not to break it, and he knew what the consequences would be if caught. He had nevertheless carried on with the plan.

Advocate Roeth Ruthanjee prosecuted and Captain J.D. Singh was the investigating officer.

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