The Pietermaritzburg High Court has sentenced eight men, among them Zimbabweans, to three life sentences and a total of 120 years in prison on Wednesday for cash-in-transit (CIT)-related crimes.
According to Warrant Officer Bonnie Nxumalo, on 1 September 2017, a team of Port Shepstone-based Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Special Task Force and Crime Intelligence Gathering received intelligence about a group of men who were going to attack a cash van that was travelling from Kokstad to Harding.
The officers acted on the information and spotted three vehicles on the N2 highway near Stafford Post. Said Nxumalo:
The police instructed the vehicles to stop but the occupants fired shots at the police. Police returned fire, fatally wounding three men and injuring one. Five assault rifles, two pistols and explosives were recovered.
Eight men were arrested at the scene and were charged with conspiracy to commit a cash-in-transit robbery, murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of explosives as well as hijacking of two vehicles.
A police investigation revealed that two of their vehicles had been hijacked from the owners in Cato Manor, April 2017 and Alexander, June 2017 respectively.
The eight accused, Xolani Mpisane, 40, Njabulo Ngcobo, 48, Mzwenduna Blose, 41, Sabelo Buthelezi, 39, Thuthukani Dlamini, 35, Msizi Mkhize, 45, Sibusiso Ngwenya, 33, and Sipho Nyosi, 38, appeared in court during a lengthy trial until their successful conviction.
Nxumalo added that they were all convicted and they received life imprisonment with 120 year-imprisonment each which will run concurrently.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, said last month that the country was “under attack” by the CIT heists that keep going up in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
More: The Citizen