Four deny post office hold-up

2010-07-27 00:00

FOUR men have pleaded not guilty in the high court in Pietermaritzburg to robbing the post office at Impendle, which is also a pension payout point, of R59 713 on September 1, 2008.

They also pleaded not guilty to other related charges.

The accused, appearing before Judge Wendy Hughes-Madondo and assessors, are Mudemude Memela (53) of KwaDabeka, Mcabangeni Xaba (49) of Ndaleni, Khulekani Ndlovu (27) of Claremont and Mthoko Mokoena (23), also of Claremont.

The state alleges in its indictment that the four accused and other assailants became aware that pensioners collected their pension grants monthly from the post office, and they decided to rob the cashiers while they were paying the pensions.

To execute their plan, they needed to steal a vehicle. On the morning of July 17, 2008, they confronted Trevor Claire (67) in Pinetown and robbed him of his Mazda Rustler bakkie, which he used to transport workers to New Germany.

On September 1, the accused allegedly proceeded to the post office in the stolen vehicle.

They allegedly fired shots, injuring pensioner Alexia Mncwabe. Cashiers Bavumile Mbelu and Patricia Mgoza, who had been making payments to the pensioners, fled.

The robbers helped themselves to cash and robbed a security guard, Sbongiseni Mkhulisi, of his service pistol.

Afterwards they made their way to the bakkie and made good their escape.

One of the accused, Mokoena, denied any involvement in the crimes.

In a statement to the court, Mokoena said he had been selling clothing and bedding near the post office on the day in question when he heard a gunshot.

“I also began to run because I was scared. While running I had a blackout.

“My next recollection was that I woke up in hospital injured,” he stated.

Mokoena was arrested in hospital.

The case is proceeding.

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