Three plead guilty to toy gun home invasion attack on MEC’s daughter

2010-07-15 00:00

THREE males yesterday pleaded guilty to — and were convicted of — the robbery with aggravating circumstances of Nomalungelo Radebe, daughter of KZN Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe, at her Lincoln Meade residence on May 26.

The trio — Melusi Gumede (25), Siyabonga Ndlovu (31) and a youth who claims to be 14 years old — pleaded guilty to a charge of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

They admitted in statements before regional court magistrate Paul Ableman that they threatened Radebe with a toy firearm as well as a knife and made off with some R40 000 worth of goods.

In a statement describing the crimes — details of which were confirmed by both his co-accused — Gumede said that on the night in question the three of them planned to break into Radebe’s home and rob her. He armed himself with a knife and Ndlovu took along a toy gun.

“To gain entry … we forced open the kitchen window and accused two [the youth] entered … He then went and opened the front door for us. We proceeded to remove a number of items …”

He said he and Ndlovu went to Radebe’s room. She woke up and they pointed the toy gun and knife at her, warning her not to make a noise.

“We told her we would do nothing to her if she co-operated.”

He said they demanded that Radebe should hand over her laptop and she told them it was in her car.

“We demanded her car keys and went to her car, unlocked it and removed the laptop. We then left with the stolen goods to return to our houses at Tamboville.”

Gumede said they had sold most of the stolen property before they were arrested and had shared the proceeds.

Sentencing was postponed until July 27 to enable prosecutor Pranisha Kasool to obtain records of the accuseds’ previous convictions and to enable the youth to undergo an age assessment.

The defence will also obtain correctional supervision and probation officers’ reports ahead of sentencing.

Defence lawyer Carl Groene­wald said that although the charge sheet and police docket record the age of the youngest accused as 18, the youth claims he is only 14.

The court ordered that the youngster be detained in the juvenile section of the prison pending the outcome of his age assessment.

• Four men were initially arrested in connection with the robbery, but charges were withdrawn against one of them, Sipho Ngcobo.

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