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Pretoria - Escape artist Bongani Moyo and his partner in crime, Khumbulani Sibanda, are not happy at all with the prospect of spending their lives in jail, or at the very least being old men when they are one day considered for parole.
They on Thursday approached the Pretoria High Court for leave to appeal against what they call their “Methuselah” sentences.
But Judge Natvarlal Ranchod, who sentenced the pair in March, would have none of it.
He said he had fully considered the pair’s circumstances when he sentenced Moyo to 277 years, of which he effectively has to serve 62 years, and Sibanda to 270 years, of which he effectively has to serve 55 years.
He concluded that no other court would lessen the sentences.
The pair deemed it unfair that they would be old men when they left prison, or that they might never see life outside prison walls again.
Moyo, 32, will be 94 by the time he has served his sentence.
This is apart from the 17 years he was given for other crimes, including one of his many daring escapes.
The picture regarding Sibanda seems equally bleak, if not worse. The 30-year-old bank robber will be 85 by the time he has served his sentence.
He is, however, already serving a 45-year sentence for two previous bank robberies and other crimes. In effect, Sibanda is due to serve 100 years in jail.
It was argued on Thursday on their behalf that their prison sentences meant they would have to spend their entire lives in prison.
They complained that the judge did not consider the fact that they did not execute their spate of bank robberies “with violence”.
This is apart from the fact that CCTV footage shows a gun-wielding Moyo jumping on to a counter in a bank and during another robbery assaulting a teller.
The pair were at pains to explain to the court during their trial that they executed the robberies as they wanted to provide a better life for their families in Zimbabwe.
They on Thursday complained that the judge had not considered this fact in sentencing them.
They embarked on a number of bank robberies after escaping from the Boksburg Prison in 2011.
The pair, after pleading guilty, pleaded for mercy and told the judge that they promised not to embark on a path of crime again.
Moyo, during one of his many escape trials, explained that he tried to make a dash for freedom as “life behind bars was not nice at all”.
But Judge Ranchod was adamant that society had to be protected against dangerous offenders.