Sword of justice falls on ninja gang

2016-09-01 16:16
(Photo: Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Photo: Nielen de Klerk, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mbombela - The four “Onderberg Ninjas”, who used guns and samurai swords to terrorise and rob Mpumalanga farmers, have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

Moses Silinda, 33, from Mangweni near Komatipoort, and Mozambican nationals Pieto Gwambe, 30, Sam Chauke, 40, and Veins Gavane, 30, were sentenced in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Wednesday.

Gwambe, Chauke and Gavane each pleaded guilty to a charge of being illegally in the country.

Magistrate Andre Geldenhuys found them guilty on all the charges they faced, including armed robbery, assault, kidnapping, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

He sentenced Silinda and Gwambe to 21 years and three months’ imprisonment each, and Chauke and Gavane to 30 years and three months' imprisonment each.


Local residents, security companies, police, and SA National Defence Force members arrested them on November 23 2011. They were involved in a series of attacks and armed robberies on Malelane and Komatipoort farms.

Prosecutor Isabet Erwee said after their arrest, the crimes stopped.

“The accused were named Onderberg Ninjas because they got hold of firearms and swords. They committed violent armed robberies, and severely assaulted their victims,” Erwee said.

“One of the victims was so traumatised that after the attack, she was forced to leave her farm. They attacked their victims in the early hours of the morning and also during the afternoon, in broad daylight. They planned their attacks well and worked in a group,” said Erwee.

Geldenhuys said one of the victims, gardener Michael Mahlalela, was beaten up so badly he became deaf and was forced to stop working.

They attacked him at his employer’s home on November 5 2011. The expensive household items they stole from his employer were recovered at the three accused's homes in Mozambique.

On the day of their arrest, they attacked Gabriel Strydom and Beatrix Botha in their home in Hectorspruit using a firearm, sword, and bricks. Strydom sustained an open slash wound to his head. They stole his firearm. Geldenhuys said the couple were good citizens who ran a successful business on their farm.

The Strydoms called for help on a two-way radio and their neighbours, police, security companies launched a search, with the help of an SANDF helicopter. Three of the “ninjas” were caught hiding in a densely-wooded area.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.