Judge jails convict for life, saying he can’t be rehabilitated

2011-01-17 00:00

SHORTLY after his release from prison in April 2008, 34-year-old Nonto Mokoena of Weenen went on a crime spree for which Judge Anton van Zyl in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Friday sentenced him to imprisonment for life plus 72 years.

After robbing an elderly farmer, Mokoena the next day shot a security guard and stole a vehicle.

Judge Van Zyl ordered some of Mokoena’s sentences to run concurrently, saying in his verdict that Mokoena had four previous convictions and could probably not be rehabilitated.

Mokoena got life for the murder of a store guard, Vika Ntshaba, near Weenen. Mokoena told the court that after breaking into a building in April 2008,he saw Ntshaba and decided to shoot him as he thought Ntshaba would “cause him trouble”.

On the same day Mokoena broke into the house of 93-year-old Pieter Moller, trussed him and robbed him at gunpoint of his vehicle. Mokoena took Moller’s keys only to find that the vehicle was chained and locked. He went into Moller’s house and demanded the key to the lock. He drove the vehicle from the house and found that the gate was locked. He entered the house a third time to get the key for the lock. He eventually pulled up a pole for the gate and drove off.

On the previous day, Mokoena had robbed an elderly farmer, Alexander van Staden, who was fishing in a river. Mokoena struck up a conversation with Van Staden who gave him a fish.

Mokoena then grabbed Van Staden’s fishing bag and found a handgun in it. He threatened Van Staden who fled over the river but kept slipping while trying to climb the opposite bank while Mokoena fired at him, fortunately missing.

Judge Van Zyl said there was no need to shoot at him as the robbery had been accomplished and his victim was fleeing.

Finding that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances justifying less than the prescribed sentence, Van Zyl imposed four 15-year jail sentences and 12 years for the attempted murder of Van Staden, totalling 72 years, in addition to the life sentence. The non-parole period is 24 years.


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