On 23 November 2018, Inkanyezi Regional Court sentenced five accused aged between 25 and 34 years for the robberies that they committed in the Eshowe policing precinct. The accused terrorised the Eshowe community between April and October 2015 by robbing them of the belongings at gunpoint. They were sentenced to a total of 100 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.
In April 2015, a farmer with two employees were accosted by a group of armed males who assaulted them, burnt them with an iron and robbed them of cash, valuables including a vehicle that was found abandoned in the sugarcane field at Ntumeni area.
In September 2015, the accused pretended to be hitchhikers and when a 33-year-old medical doctor offeed them a lift on the R66 highway, they hijacked him of his vehicle and valuables at gunpoint. His vehicle was also found abandoned at Ntumeni area.
In October 2015, a 42-year-old driver was also robbed of his vehicle after he picked up two males who were hitchhiking on the R66 highway. He was also robbed of his belongings and he was kept in the vehicle’s trunk whilst the criminals were trying to sell his vehicle. He was later dumped in the bushes and his vehicle was subsequently found abandoned at Ntumeni area.
Few days later, Removal Company employees were driving from Pietermaritzburg to Nkandla when their truck broke down at Ntumeni area. Whilst they were fixing the truck after the mechanic had arrived, four males appeared and robbed them cellphones, cash and the mechanic’s VW Caddy.
Another incident occurred at Vuma area where male who run his tuckshop from the container was robbed of his vehicle, his Nissan 1400 vehicle by three men at gunpoint. They locked him inside the container and left and he was assisted by the local headsman who alerted police.
After the cases of robbery were opened, the King Cetshwayo Cluster Task Team detectives worked around the clock, gathering the evidence about these criminals. The modus operandi, DNA and their fingerprints linked them to the crimes. Six suspects were arrested and only five accused were convicted. The sixth accused, Themba Sipho Dlodlo escaped from police custody and was fatally injured during a shootout with the police in 2016.
Mzuvele Innocent Manzini (32) was linked to two robbery cases and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for each case. Zakhele Mnguni (28), Thabiso Nyawo (26), Thobani Ntetha (25) and Njabulo Bonokwakhe Manqele (34) were each sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for separate cases that they were positively linked to. Njabulo Manqele was arrested in June 2016 at KwaHlomendlini area, Tugela after police received information that he was at a certain homestead as a delegate for lobola negotiations.