KwaZulu-Natal bridge robbers get 47 years

2010-11-02 22:39

Durban - Two people who hijacked and threw a school teacher off the uMkhomazi River Bridge were sentenced to a total of 47 years in jail by the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday.

Magistrate Fariedha Mohamed sentenced 26-year-old Siboniso Blessing Ngcobo to 15 years imprisonment for armed robbery with aggravating circumstances, ten years for kidnapping and ten years for attempted murder.

A 17-year-old (who cannot be named) was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for armed robbery with aggravating circumstances, two years for kidnapping and another two years for attempted murder.

Two other men - Wandile Nsibande and Sibusiso Dlamini - both pleaded guilty to kidnapping and robbery charges earlier this year. Nsibande was sentenced to 20 years and Dlamini to 40 years imprisonment.

The men hijacked and robbed Kavisha Seevnarian before throwing her off the 60m high bridge.

"It was the grace of God that she (Seevnarian) survived to tell the tale. The scars will affect her for the rest of her life," Mohamed said.

Handing over sentences, Mohamed described the offences as very serious, saying that it showed they were planned.

Should rot in jail

She said the court had considered that the teenager might have been influenced to take part in the act as he was still 16 when the crime was committed.

Seevnarian’s father Jeewan shouted at state prosecutor Blackie Swart, saying the sentences were disappointing.

"They should rot in jail. I am very disappointed," he shouted.

Describing the effects of the ordeal, Seevnarian told the court her life would never be the same again.

"I don’t think I will ever live a normal life again. I feel I have been robbed of everything. When you look at me you think I am okay but inside I am not okay," she told the court.

Before the incident she was sociable and her harrowing experience had made her an introvert.

"I have stopped studying because my classes take place at night. I also don’t like to be in crowded places," she said.

Pain for life

The incident had left her with permanent back pains.

"The doctor has told me that I have to live with it (back pain) for life," she said.

The men hijacked Seevnarian at an intersection in Durban’s Shallcross on a Friday night. She was put in another car and driven to Umlazi, Durban where the men used her bank card to withdraw money from an ATM.

She was then taken to the uMkhomazi River Bridge and thrown off. She survived the 60m plunge and was recuperating from injuries including a smashed spine and fractured pelvis.

The Tuesday court proceedings were also attended by the 17-year-old accused's closed relatives.

Nhlanhla Mnculwane, his lawyer, said his client was influenced to take part.

He said his client had given Seevnarian R50 to catch a bus and also given her house keys hoping that she would be dropped on the road.

Mohamed said it was unnecessary for the men to drive her around and throw her over the bridge after they had taken her car and money.

"The act was inhumane. You were supposed to drop her off."