‘Mamba’ aide gets 18 years in prison

2016-06-23 11:50

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Pietermaritzburg - A teenager who formed an alliance with one of KwaZulu-Natal’s former most wanted criminals, nicknamed “Mamba”, has been jailed for 18 years by a Pietermaritzburg high court judge.

Mamba was shot dead by police and Sifiso Gumede (19) who was sentenced yesterday, was wounded and arrested following a dramatic manhunt and gun battle involving members of the Hawks, Combined Action Team (CAT) and the K9 Unit in January this year.

Involved in the arrest were Warrant Officer Nelson Naicker and Captain Mebra Nzimande of the Organised Crime Unit who headed the investigation that ended with Gumede’s sentencing yesterday.

The Witness has established that Gumede, who was originally from Ngwelezane near Empangeni, will soon face additional charges for hijacking in the Empangeni area as well as the attempted murder of a policeman in Rietvlei.

Gumede pleaded guilty before Judge Rishi Seegobin to two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and two of attempted murder committed in the Greytown area.

In his statement he said he and his late accomplice “Siya” Ntshangase had planned to rob their victims of their cars and belongings.

Ntshangase had shot or threatened to shoot the victims during the incidents to achieve their aim.

According to Gumede’s plea, he and Ntshangase were hitchhiking on the R33 between Greytown and Pietermaritzburg on July 9 last year when they were given a lift by their first victim, Msizi Dladla in a silver Toyota Tazz.

En route Dladla had also stopped to give a lift to a female hitchhiker, Tholakele Mchunu.

When Dladla stopped to let them all out, Ntshangase shot him once in his arm and demanded his car.

Gumede took Mchunu’s cellphone and cash. They then drove to a forest and abandoned the two victims there.

In the second incident on November 27, 2015, he and Ntshangase got a lift in a Toyota Hi-ace taxi driven by Mandla Mchunu. After the other passengers in the taxi alighted, Ntshangase shot Mchunu several times and demanded the vehicle.

However, Mchunu, who had a gun, fired in return and managed to drive off to a nearby school.

Gumede said that at Ntshangase’s “urging” they went to the school where they found Mchunu and two women — Thembi Chonco and Sinenhlanhla Gabela.

He said Ntshangase shot Mchunu again and they robbed all three of their possessions, leaving with Mchunu’s taxi.

In a victim impact statement handed in by state advocate Candy Kander, Mandla Mchunu said his life had been “good” before the incident. Since then he had to stop working because of permanent injuries to his shoulder, stomach and leg and suffers ongoing psychological trauma.

“It was a barbaric thing they did to me. They could just have taken the car and the money and not attempt to kill me as well. It scared me and I felt hurt that when I tried to run away from them they had to follow me to try and finish me off,” he said.

Dladla too said his life changed after he was shot and robbed. He became financially unstable because he lost his car, which he used for work, and he still wakes at night feeling scared.

Dladla said he thought he was going to die, especially when he was taken to the forest. “I thought about my family and my children and what would become of them if I was no longer there,” he said.

Sentencing Gumede, Judge Seegobin said he took into account his background, including the fact that he grew up in “abject poverty” and had gone astray because of his personal circumstances.

However, he said the aggravating features of the crimes could not be ignored. He said the loss to the victims could not be quantified in terms of money. “The only thing they [the victims] seek now is justice,” the judge said.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

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