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Five heist robbers guilty of murder

Pietermaritzburg - Five robbers, including a former police officer, were on Tuesday convicted on three counts of murder because they had used a car to crash into and overturn a moving cash-in-transit vehicle.

Judge Anton van Zyl convicted the five in the Pietermaritzburg High Court of the murder of their own accomplice, Ottoman Msimang, who died in the collision.

Van Zyl said they must have foreseen that death could occur when moving vehicles collided. The other men killed were the transit van driver George van Tonder and his guard Sibusiso Phakathi.

The murders and robbery of R692,000 took place as the money was being taken from Newcastle to a Ladysmith pension pay-out in October 2009. Explosives were used to blast open the back of the transit van.

Evidence of cellphone calls made from and to the crash scene played a large role in the convictions.

Van Zyl said not all the robbers performed the same acts during the robbery, but because of the doctrine of common purpose they were equally guilty.

The convicted men are Jerody Mthiyane, 37, of Mamelodi East; Philemon Nhleko, 41, of Durban; Ewat Kabr, 35, of Johannesburg; Zikethela Sokhela, 36, of Vosloosrus; and Ladysmith police dog unit Warrant Officer Siyabonga Mkanyana, 41.

Sentencing starts on Wednesday. -Sapa

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