GANG OF ROBBERS WHO TERRORIZED COMMUNITIES IN THE MOPANI HANDED MORE THAN SEVEN HUNDRED YEAR IMPRISONMENT

GANG OF ROBBERS WHO TERRORIZED COMMUNITIES IN THE MOPANI HANDED MORE THAN SEVEN HUNDRED YEAR IMPRISONMENT

POLOKWANE: The South Gauteng High Court have handed a combined Seven Hundred and Five years (705) imprisonment sentencing to the three members of the criminal gang who were convicted on 19 charges that included murder, robbery, assault, attempted murder, possession of firearms, ammunition, and kidnapping incidents that occurred in the Mopani District between 2017 and 2018 period.

The landmark conviction came following a trial that began in August 2019 and was built on sterling detective work that involved not only the SAPS, but also investigators from various banks.

Three members of the gang, Calvin Congo Mabunda (42), Sibusizo Shamase Mkhwanazi (43), Bhova Sticks Nkuna (54) began their horrendous acts by targeting the District due to a high number of pensioners who were having a habit of withdrawing large amounts of cash in Giyani, Bolobedu, Malamulele and Mokwakwaila policing precincts respectively.

Spotters in the bank would observe the withdrawal and, once the victims had left the premises, other members of the criminal group would be alerted and the unsuspecting victims would then be followed.

In some instances, they followed their victims home from the bank and broke down their front doors and robbed them in their houses.

In one instance, Mabunda held a knife to a woman’s throat after she had brought beer and food for a lobola celebration. The gang’s violent crime spree across Giyani resulted in the police forming a special task team to apprehend them when their luck finally ran out on 06 January 2018 after robbing a Superspar employee at gunpoint.

The employee allegedly collected R20.000 worth of change from the bank to be transported to the supermarket that is situated in the area. He was allegedly followed by the accused and during the robbery, a shot was fired and drew the attention of police who were patrolling nearby.

They gave chase and cornered Mkhwanazi and Mabunda at Homu 14 village. The following day, a blue car that was also involved in the robbery was spotted and police were able to arrest Bhova, after a chase and shoot-out that left a patrol van with a bullet hole in it.

After the arrests of the trio, the spate of violent robberies that were plaguing the Giyani policing area suddenly stopped and further investigations positively linked the suspects with the other additional offences that happened in Gauteng and North West provinces.

By 2019, there was enough evidence to go to trial, with all the cases across the three provinces centralised at the South Gauteng High Court.

The three accused were subsequently handed the following sentences on Tuesday 04 April 2023. which were deligently investigated by Warrant Officer Robert Khazamula Chabalala attached to the Provincial Organized Crime Unit in Limpopo province as follows:

  1. Calvin Congo Mabunda (42) was sentenced to an effective 250 years.
  2. Sibusizo Shamase Mkhwanazi (43) sentenced to 278 years.
  3. Bhova Sticks Nkuna (54) sentenced to 177 years.

“I’m very much delighted about the permanent removal of the three accused from the society who never showed any remorse while committing these barbaric acts. This is examplary to would be criminals that crime will always be paid in an unpleasant and beneficial manner to the society’s advantage” concluded Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe.

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