Hijack boss gets life term

2008-04-05 00:00

National truck hijacking syndicate mastermind Jackson Khumalo (38) was sentenced to life plus 48 years’ imprisonment by Judge Kevin Swain in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Khumalo is already serving a 20-year sentence imposed last month by a regional court magistrate for a truck hijacking in 2005.

The life sentence was imposed by Swain for the murder of a truck driver, Johannes de Witt of Bloemfontein, who was shot dead when he tried to drive off to escape at Curries Post on October 27, 2003.

Swain sentenced Khumalo to 18 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances of De Witt’s Ola ice-cream truck; to 20 years’ for conspiracy and robbery with aggravating circumstances of a Hestony horse and trailer with a load of liquor on September 20, 2004; and to five years’ on each of two counts of kidnapping the liquor truck driver, Siphiwe Jacob Zuma, and his conductor, Richard Ntombela.

Swain said the state’s evidence proved that Khumalo was a central figure in the planning and execution of both these hijackings, and was the vital link between the hijackers and the buyer of the stolen goods — named in the trial as Paul Pantosia.

The judge said evidence by one of the acomplices, Mbuso “Choice” Mkhize, was that Khumalo trained the other members of the gang.

He said Khumalo has shown no remorse and was “argumentative and arrogant” when he testified.

The court found that Khumalo concocted a story to explain the presence of his palm print in a truck linked to the 2004 hijacking, by claiming he’d been an “honest broker” liaising between the buyer and truck drivers whom he believed were legitimately selling goods.

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