Hefty sentences for three men whose crime spree ended after farm robbery

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The men stole televisions, jewellery, a car and firearms during their crime spree. Stock photo.
The men stole televisions, jewellery, a car and firearms during their crime spree. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/albund

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lt-Gen Semakaleng Manamela on Monday welcomed  hefty sentences handed down to three men whose crime spree began in Durban and ended when they were arrested in Amersfoort, Mpumalanga.

The Amersfoort Regional Court on Thursday sentenced Thulani Skhakhane, 38, Banele Khanyile, 30, and Mxolisi Duma, 32, to 43 years in jail each on various counts, including robbery, theft and housebreaking.

The court heard how on August 17 2017 the three men and a fourth suspect — who is still at large — followed a man in Durban who was going surfing and stole his car keys, an iPhone and his watch valued at R50,000.

They then drove off in his vehicle, a Honda Jazz, and crossed into Mpumalanga.

On September 23 2017 they broke into a house in Witbank and stole a laptop computer, a television and jewellery. They then proceeded to Ermelo where they broke into a house, stole a television, camera and a jewellery box.

The four then drove to a farm in Amersfoort on the same day. They found the farm owner's 87-year-old father, tied him up with rope and assaulted him. They took a safe containing about nine firearms as well as jewellery and other valuables.

“As they were making their way out, a vigilant farmer spotted the vehicle speeding and became suspicious. She drove after them and alerted other farmers as well as police.

“When the four noticed they were being chased, the driver lost control. The three were arrested and one suspect managed to flee,” said police spokesperson Col Donald Mdhluli.

Mdhluli said the court found all three guilty on all counts, including housebreaking with the intention to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances (farm attack at Amersfoort), possession of obliterated firearm at Amersfoort, possession of ammunition without a licence (at Amersfoort), theft of motor vehicle (in Durban central), theft (at Witbank) and theft (at Ermelo).

Police urged anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of the remaining suspect to call the Crime Stop number at 08600-10111.


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