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Ladysmith senior policeman Inspector Emmanuel Zulu has received high praise for his dedication to "rescuing" the residents of Zakheni township from the yoke of a most wanted criminal.
Yesterday, thanks to the professional work of Zulu, the Ladysmith regional court handed down a stiff sentence to notorious gang leader Delani Mncube, 27.
Mncube was jailed for life for rape and for 15 years for three counts of robbery. He was declared unfit to possess a firearm.
Mncube had been terrorising the community and it took Zulu three years to ensure that he was sent to jail.
Mncube and his four accomplices were wanted for the gang rape in March 2006 of a local woman who was with two men. The armed gang forced the two men to strip naked.
Then Mncube and his mates took turns guarding the two men at gunpoint while others raped the woman. They then robbed the men of their cellphones and clothes before fleeing.
The victim's boyfriend was one of the men who were forced to watch the sordid ordeal. He died last year during the trial.
During the trial, Mncube refused to give police the identity of his accomplices.
Local community leaders expressed satisfaction over Mncube's conviction, saying they had felt the courts were lenienton criminals. .
Mayor Dudu Mazibuko said they "are especially encouraged by Zulu's hard work. We applaud him for his efforts".
Police spokesperson Captain Charmaine Struwig recalled how the two naked men and the woman had began a 5km walk to the police station.
"Along the way a good Samaritan offered the three a lift home where they obtained clothes before reporting to the police station," Struwig said.
Zulu said he was pleased that the community had appreciated his efforts.
"And I will keep looking for the other four accomplices so that justice is done."