A Limpopo man allegedly committed suicide a few hours after the Thohoyandou high court convicted him of two further counts of armed robbery last week.
State prosecutor Ratshilunela Makhera told Sowetan that Ntshengendzeni Maphalaphathwa, 38, of Mashau village, near Vuwani, was serving 18 years for armed robbery. He was found guilty on two additional charges of armed robbery on Thursday.
Maphalaphathwa was a member of a syndicate that targeted security companies in Limpopo and Gauteng between 2000 and 2005.
He was arrested with Andries Makuya, 19, and Thomas Ndou, 36, both from Tshakhuma, for the robbery of R1,1million from a cash-in-transit guard in 2004. They also robbed another company of R580000 in 2005.
On Friday, the day he was to be sentenced, Maphalaphathwa was found dead in a Matatshe prison cell. He had apparently hanged himself.
Thohoyandou police spokesman Commissioner Mashudu Malelo could not confirm the death yesterday.
Makhera said that Maphalaphathwa also had previous convictions of theft and possession of stolen property that took place in Rosebank, Johannesburg, in 1998. He was released after serving three years.
The case against Makuya and Ndou was postponed to next Monday for sentencing.