/ 1 January 2002

Court cuts three years off Mbuli’s sentence

People's Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli had three years of an effective 13-year sentence for robbery and possession of a handgrenade set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

People’s Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli had three years of an effective 13-year sentence for robbery and possession of a handgrenade set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The court overturned his conviction on the charge of possessing a hand grenade, but upheld the guilty verdict for robbery.

Mbuli and his bodyguards, Happy Skwabane and Ben Masiso, were arrested after the First National Bank (FNB) branch in Waverley, Pretoria, was robbed of R15 000 in October 1997.

Driving a BMW, they were pulled over by police not far from the scene of the robbery. In the car, police found money in FNB bags, three firearms, blue overalls and a hand grenade.

They were convicted in the Pretoria Regional Court in August 1999 and sentenced to between 13 and 15 years in jail.

Their appeal against the guilty verdict was dismissed in the Pretoria High Court on November 10, 2000. Mbuli claims he was framed. – Sapa