Two robbers who terrorised families in the Wonderboom area for six months by breaking into several homes, in which one resident was shot dead, called on the court on Thursday to have mercy on them.
Moetla Richard Mokalapa, 23, of Mamelodi East, and Alex Maila, 29, of Atteridgeville, pleaded guilty to an array of charges in the North Gauteng High Court. These include housebreaking, robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape and attempted murder.
Mokalapa also pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgios Savvides, an elderly man who lived in Dadelpalm Street. He was shot dead after the robbers entered his home, and his wife, who was sleeping in a different room, started shouting.
Savvides opened his door slightly and after peeking around it, closed it. Mokalapa fired a shot through the door, hitting the elderly man.
The court heard that his widow was so traumatised by the events of March 30, 2011 that she moved to Cape Town.
The two broke into four households between December 2010 and June 2011.
They attempted to kill another resident, Leon van der Merwe, after they broke into his Kuruman Avenue home in Sinoville on June 14, 2011.
in a statement handed to court, Mokalapa said they broke into the house by forcing open a security gate and sliding door.
They pointed a firearm at Van der Merwe while robbing him. He tried to fight, but Mokalapa said he managed to hit him on the mouth with his firearm.
He then placed his firearm against the man’s head and pulled the trigger, but the firearm jammed. The bullet fell out of the firearm.
In another household, the pair raped a woman.
The men, through their lawyers, told Judge Ferdi Preller that they were very sorry for what they had done and pleaded for his mercy in sentencing them. It was said that their remorse was evident from the fact that they pleaded guilty.
But the judge questioned whether this was remorse and whether they knew they were going to be convicted anyway, as DNA evidence and fingerprints directly pointed at them as being the culprits.
All the victims identified the men as their attackers during an identity parade.
Both men also had previous convictions – one’s criminal record started when he was 14.
The judge questioned what would stop them from continuing with their housebreakings if he was too lenient.
He said the community should be protected against them as they could kill more people.
The State called for several life sentences each for both and said they took advantage of vulnerable people who were sleeping at night in the sanctuary of their homes. All the victims were traumatised and were still receiving counselling.