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09 Nov 2007 17:10
A 21-year-old gangster was jailed for life by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday for murder and sentenced to nine terms of 25 years for nine aggravated robberies.
Mzamiseni Mazibuko had previously been sentenced to 30 years’ jail in March this year for nine other aggravated robberies. He pleaded guilty to the 10 newer charges on Friday.
Judge President Vuka Tshabalala said Mazibuko, of KwaMbonambi, and his co-robbers had conducted a reign of terror in Zululand last year and part of this year.
Six of the robberies and the murder were perpetrated on two days—February 13 and 14 this year—while all the robberies were committed between January 28 and February 14 this year.
In a guilty plea, Mazibuko said that a security guard, Dumisani Tantsi, and a colleague were on a road when Mazibuko’s gang arrived.
However, Tantsi replied that “he was not scared of young boys”. A gang member grabbed at Tantsi’s gun and Mazibuko shot Tantsi in the neck, killing him.
Tshabalala said the killing of Tantsi was cold-blooded and if other robbery victims had resisted more could have been murdered. Most of the gang carried guns during the robberies and the victims allowed them to take whatever they wanted. The crimes were committed in broad daylight.
Tshabalala said Mazibuko and his gang undermined economic activity as they attacked people building roads and repairing telephone lines. He was a taxi driver earning a salary, so his robberies were motivated by greed.
The judge president made some of the 25-year robbery sentences run concurrently and ordered that Mazibuko not be paroled until he has served 35 years.
Parliament has legislated that the sentences for aggravated robbery should be 15 years’ jail for the first offence, 20 years for the second and 25 years for subsequent offences, unless there are substantial and compelling circumstances allowing the court to depart from the prescribed sentences.
Mazibuko’s counsel, Divesh Mootheram, said his client had pleaded guilty and agreed that he would testify against other members of the gang.
Mazibuko had admitted that the motive for stealing cars from victims was to “go on joyrides”.
State counsel Candy Kander said many serious crimes are committed by criminals as young as Mazibuko and his age should not be a substantial and compelling circumstance justifying a lesser sentence than those prescribed.
Tshabalala found no substantial and compelling circumstances for Mazibuko.—Sapa
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