12 Feb 2018, Mpumalanga: The Acting National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata today congratulated the Mpumalanga serious organised crime team, the SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Judiciary for ensuring the sentencing of thirteen accused implicated in one of the biggest cash heist ever carried out in South Africa.
The accused who include three former police officers amongst them a former commander of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime unit in Mpumalanga, Bhekane Welcome Gcabashe(48), and two other ex-officers, Lekele Reckon Lekola (46), Tamsanqua Gladstone Khubeka (36), Petra December Nkosi (31), Elmond Jackie Malta (41), Robert John Clack (27), Lesly Skhumbuzo Khathi (35), Enock Siphiwe Khumalo (53), Elkin Sibusiso Shabangu (39), Nathaniel Zithulele Hlathi (44), Titus Maila (45), Teenage Mabogoane (34) and Desmond Moses Abdullah Mohlamonyane (43) were sentenced to 20 years prison term each by the Delmas High Court last week Friday.
The armed group gained entry into the SBV cash depot in Witbank on the night of April 27, 2014, under the false pretence that they were from head office (SBV) and were being accompanied by police officers.
They claimed that they were in 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 unknown location. 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 up after two painstakingly years (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.
The case is provincially postponed to 26 August 2016 for administration purpose and the trial resumed on the 10th October 2016. The accused were convicted of conspiracy to murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, attempted murder and malicious damaged to property.
The Assert Forfeiture Unit was already on board and assets to the value of R15 million have already been attached.
“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.
“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,” Lieutenant General Matakata said.