The Durban Regional Court has sentenced three men: Gcinani Mbhele (39), Stembiso Ntsele (39) and Khanyisani Msomi (37) to various terms of imprisonment for the two house robberies they committed in October 2018 in the Durban North area, along with their accomplices. Mbhele and Ntsele were further convicted of attempted murder for shooting at private security guards. In addition, Ntsele was convicted of reckless and negligent driving, malicious injury to property and assault GBH for incidents that happened following the second robbery.

In the first incident, Mbhele and their accomplices broke into the house of the first complainant, while the family was asleep. Armed with firearms, they tied up and blindfolded the complainant’s husband and threatened her to co-operate. The men spent several hours in the house, taking goods to the value of approximately R100 000. Msomi who had dropped them off at the house, returned to fetch them and they fled the scene.

Three days later, Mbhele and Ntsele accosted the second complainant and her family as they slept in their home. They were armed, and assaulted her boyfriend. After spending hours ransacking the house, they loaded household goods, jewellery and other items into the complainant’s SUV and drove off.

They fled to the Amaoti area where they were spotted by members of a private security company. They were ordered to stop, but continued driving (recklessly), and they fired shots at the security members. They eventually crashed into a house and were arrested in possession of the stolen items.

In court, Regional Court Prosecutor Sureka Marimuthu led the testimonies of the complainants and the officers from the private security company. Marimuthu also led evidence of an identification parade and the vehicle tracking system report, showing the vehicle’s movements after it was stolen. She also handed in Victim Impact Statements compiled by the two complainants. One complainant said that she and her family had to undergo trauma counselling as they suffered from anxiety following the event. They also suffered significant financial losses. She said that their two family pets died soon after the incident, likely due to the stress that they also experienced during the ordeal. The other complainant said that the events of the robbery are seared in her memory forever. She said that they were psychologically tortured by the men who insinuated sexual violence on her three minor children if they didn’t comply. The woman said that she is grateful to the Court and the SAPS for pursuing justice for her family because there is a measure of healing that comes from knowing that the system has fought for them and secured these convictions.

Mbhele was sentenced to 36 years imprisonment (convicted for two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder), Nsele was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment (convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, reckless and negligent driving, malicious injury to property and assault GBH); and Msomi was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The NPA commends the work of the Prosecution and the SAPS in contributing to this successful prosecution. Housebreaking is one of the most invasive offences being committed by criminals, as it directly affects social cohesion between citizens and goes against the feeling of safety for our people. In response, the NPA has embarked on a project that seeks to enhance social cohesion and promote safer communities, called the Housebreaking-Ikhaya Lethu project. This project aims to deal directly with the above by bringing high impact prosecutions, in prosecuting smartly and strategically. Thus increasing feelings of safety and security amongst South Africans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *