The Hawks have welcomed the sentencing of the thirteen accused implicated in one of the biggest cash heists ever carried out in South Africa.
The accused include three former police officers, amongst them a former commander of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime unit in Mpumalanga, Bhekane Welcome Gcabashe, and two other ex-officers, Lekele Reckon Lekola and Tamsanqua Gladstone Khubeka.
Others include Petra December Nkosi, Elmond Jackie Malta, Robert John Clack, Lesly Skhumbuzo Khathi, Enock Siphiwe Khumalo, Elkin Sibusiso Shabangu, Nathaniel Zithulele Hlathi, Titus Maila, Teenage Mabogoane and Desmond Moses Abdullah Mohlamonyane, who were sentenced to 20 years prison term each by the Delmas High Court on Friday.
The armed group gained entry into the SBV cash depot in Witbank in 2014, under the false pretence that they were from the head office of SBV and were being accompanied by police officers.
They claimed that they were on the premises to investigate an alleged crime and to question employees at the warehouse.
Upon gaining entry into the premises, staff and securities on site were overpowered.
The convicts then broke into a safe using an industrial drill and got away with approximately R105 million.
The convicts kidnapped some of the victims by forcing them into a motor vehicle and taking them to an unknown location where they attempted to kill the victims by forcibly administering an unknown toxic substance.
Following investigations by the Hawks’ National Bureau for Illegal Firearm Control and Priority Violent Crime (NBIFCPVC) the suspects were rounded in 2016 and charged accordingly.
The accused were granted bail ranging from R500 up to R50 000 except for Robert John Clack who was denied bail and remained in prison.
Acting National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata congratulated the Mpumalanga team for the arrests and securing the sentence.
“I want to applaud the impact of all those involved, through good investigative work and an independent judiciary, because on most instances, law enforcement is often blamed by some members of the public when criminals walk free or receive lighter sentences,” said Matakata.
Matakata said this “sentence augurs very well for law enforcement because it shows that through dedication and relentless pursuit of the case, resulted in hefty sentences. We congratulate and urge them to continue to do more.”