Judge throws book at ATM bombers who murdered guard

2013-08-23 00:00

HIGH court Judge Philip Nkosi threw the book at two convicted ATM bombers at Madadeni this week.

A former policeman, Nkosinathi Masina (30), and Menzi Mabaso (28) were each sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a security guard in the course of one attack at eMondlo, plus jail terms totalling 52 and 90 years respectively for a string of related crimes.

The additional jail sentences were however ordered to run concurrently with the life term.

The “extra” 38 years’ imprisonment imposed on Mabaso arose from his convictions for unlawful possession of explosives, an Uzi and AK47 machine rifles, other firearms and ammunition at Nqutu between July 16, 2011 and August 15, 2011.

The life sentences were imposed for the murder of Norman Masondo — a security guard at the eMondlo Municipality community centre — who was gunned down when he emerged to investigate the cause of an ATM bomb explosion on July 16, 2011.

After shooting him, the attackers robbed him of his pistol and ammunition.

They got away with R640 000 from the ATMs.

The bombers also attempted to murder Liberty Nkosi, who was shot in the face while walking past the community centre, and a police officer, Joseph Mchunu, who drove past.

Shots were fired, hitting Mchu­nu’s vehicle.

Masina and Mabaso were also found to have taken part in the bombing and robbery of R179 540 at ATMs at Osizweni Total garage on July 15, 2011.

During that incident, shots were also fired at a policeman, Boswa Dlangamandla, from Osizweni police station.

Passing sentence on the two men in the case — which was prosecuted by KZN state advocate Dorian Paver — the judge said in his view nothing mitigated the horror of their actions.

“The acts are so abhorrent that your personal circumstances must yield,” he said, finding there were no compelling and substantial circumstances to reduce their blameworthiness.

Judge Nkosi said Masina, a father of two, had left his employment with the police for reasons he did not disclose to the court.

He is also facing a similar charge in Johannesburg.

Mabaso, who also has two children, was working as a vendor at a Soweto hostel at the time of the offences.

He said both committed the crimes out of greed, “regardless of the cost to the victims or potential victims”.

“You formed a group that would traverse the length and breadth of the country to bomb ATMs and get money … you didn’t care about the life and property that was damaged,” the Judge told them.

He said the group were armed with dangerous weapons that would “cause mayhem and destruction and take lives”.

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