DURBAN - A July unrest looter was handed a six-year imprisonment sentence by the Durban Regional Court on Friday.
Mvelo Majola pleaded guilty to the theft of a motor vehicle during the looting and civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal last year.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said Majola has stolen a Hino truck that was one of nine vehicles stolen from Pharmed Pharmaceuticals in Riverhorse Valley on Nandi Drive.
“In his plea, Majola said he knew of some people that participated in the looting spree, and one of them had given him the vehicle. Majola told the police he wanted to use the vehicle to visit some of his friends and relatives and he planned to abandon the vehicle once he was done with it,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
Majola was arrested a few days later when police stopped him and asked about the branded company vehicle. Since he could not answer their questions, police called the number branded on the truck and the person who answered indicated that the vehicle had been stolen during the looting. The owner was able to identify the truck.
“In aggravation of sentence, Regional Court prosecutor Vishalen Moodley told the court that the looting and theft during the unrest were done opportunistically with no regard for the rule of law or people’s belongings. He asked the court to pass a custodial sentence, as a warning to others who participated in such reckless behaviour,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
She said the NPA commended the work of the prosecution and investigating team in securing this successful prosecution.
Last December, Police Minister Bheki Cele, in a parliamentary question, revealed that a total of 486 people were arrested for offences related to the unrest, most of them, 411, were arrested for business burglary. The rest were arrested for attempted murder (31), assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (17), common assault (eight), arson (seven), carjacking (six), attempted business robbery (three), attempted business burglary (two) and defeating the ends of justice (one).
He said 18 people were arrested and charged for incitement to commit public violence related to the unrest that took place in KZN and Gauteng in July 2021. The accused are still before the court, with the exception of one, against whom the charge was withdrawn, due to insufficient evidence. The investigations are continuing and the possibility of additional arrests were not ruled out.