Two jailed for ATM bombings

2017-05-18 14:03
Two men were sentenced to 21 years ans 18 years respectively for their involvement in a string of ATM bombing in KZN

Two men were sentenced to 21 years ans 18 years respectively for their involvement in a string of ATM bombing in KZN (File)

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

Two men were jailed for 21 years and 18 years respectively on Wednesday for their involvement in a series of ATM bombing incidents in KwaZulu-Natal in 2010 and 2011.

One of the men, Bonginhlanhla Shozi (43) was convicted of nine charges, including housebreaking and theft, causing an explosion and malicious injury to property arising from separate ATM bombing incidents at Umzinto, Ixopo and Highflats (also in the Ixopo district).

Another accomplice, Samson Mtaka (42), was found guilty of six charges arising from the same incidents.

As a result, regional court magistrate Bhezizitha Phoswa found Mtaka deserved a lesser effective sentence than Shozi.

He said after adding up the sentences that were appropriate for each of the crimes, the total number of years was far too high. In the case of Shozi this came to a total of 75 years and for Mtaka to 48 years.

The magistrate therefore ordered that portions of the sentences should run concurrently so as to result in a fair sentence.

Phoswa took into account when passing sentence that the bombings in question were not accompanied by loss of life or injuries to anyone.

He also considered the fact that both men have already been in jail awaiting trial for six years. However, he said when it came to the latter their own hands were “not clean”, referring to the fact that they had pleaded not guilty and decided to remain silent at their trial.

Phoswa said the amounts stolen from the ATMs was between R700 000 and R800 000 of which “not one cent” was recovered.

Shozi’s role was as a “getaway driver” who was stationed nearby to drive the bombers to safety, and Mtaka had assisted the syndicate by identifying suitable targets.

According to the state’s charge sheet R300 000 was stolen when First National Bank (FNB) and Standard Bank ATMs were bombed at the Take and Pay Family Store at Umzinto on the night of December 31, 2010.

Another bombing occurred at Boxer Trading Store in Ixopo on January 26, 2011, but no money was taken.

During the third attack on an FNB ATM at Triangle Store, also in Ixopo, the bombers escaped with R432 000.

Phoswa said according to the evidence of an accomplice who gave evidence for the state, Mtaka was related to the leader of the bombing gang, identified as Sakhiwe Khumalo.

Mtaka had introduced Shozi to the gang.

“We are told that the two accused [Shozi and Mtaka] fell into temptation,” said Phoswa. But, he said, they were among the fortunate few who were already working to earn a living.

Shozi was a security guard and Mtaka was “self employed” and owned a bakkie.

“I imagine accused one [Shozi] as a security guard wearing a uniform and he says to society ... I am a security guard and you can trust me. But what is he doing at night?” the magistrate said. “He becomes a daring criminal,” he said.

Both men had decided instead of earning an honest living to set out to make a “quick buck”, not from one, but a series of ATM bombings fuelled by greed.

He said the evidence showed the gang was “as cautious as a cat”.

After identifying a place to target, they would not blindly attack. Instead, they would go there and establish if it was a suitable place for their mission. If it was, they retreated, communicated via cellphones and arranged to meet. After the job was done they called their drivers to pick them up.

“They would execute their plan in the middle of the night. I can picture the owners of these structures asleep ... then their cellphones ring and I can imagine their anxiety and sense of helplessness at being told their businesses have been broken into ... their merchandise is upside down and there is expensive damage ...

“While they are feeling helpless there are people out there celebrating their victory and sharing out the money which they have not worked for. These people have no regard for the rights of people who work hard for the possessions that they own,” said Phoswa.

Three people linked to the same syndicate were sentenced in Madadeni High Court in 2014 to sentences ranging from 12 years to 22 years.

Judge Phillip Nkosi sentenced gang leader Sakhiwe Khumalo and Makhawe Nzimande to an effective 22 years each, and Khumalo’s girlfriend, Gcinaphi Maureen Mnguni, was given an effective sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! 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 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.