DURBAN - The sentencing of one of Sindiso Magaqa’s murder accused to 95 years’ imprisonment has brought hope to the family that justice will finally prevail for him.
Sibusiso Malusi Ncengwa was found guilty of plotting a cash-in-transit heist and was sentenced to 95 years imprisonment by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday.
He was sentenced alongside his co-accused, Xolani Mpisane, Morrison Ngcobo, Muzi Blose, Sabelo Buthelezi, Thuthukani Dlamini, Msizi Mkhize and Sipho Nyosi, who received the same number of years.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the men were convicted of a string of offences relating to their plan to hijack a cash-in-transit van in September 2017 on the highway between Harding and Kokstad on the South Coast.
The NPA said that in preparation for the cash-in-transit robbery, the men stole two vehicles they would use as part of their plan. They stole a BMW 3 series belonging to Xolani Ngwenya and a Ford Territory belonging to Jonathan Coleman. Ngwenya was also robbed of his wallet and cellphones.
The NPA said that on the day of the incident the accused equipped themselves with firearms and explosives to counter any resistance they may experience.
They also used a Toyota bakkie, belonging to Mkhize, which was meant to be their getaway vehicle.
The police, who had already received information from their sources about the planned robbery, planned to intercept and apprehend the men before they could execute their plot.
“The police spotted one of the stolen vehicles and attempted to stop it, but the men fled and they fired gunshots at the police.
“The police returned fire and an exchange of gunshots ensued, where three members of the gang were killed and five police members were injured.
“The men were arrested on the scene and firearms, ammunition and explosives were found in their possession,” said the NPA.
All of the men will serve an effective 30 years in prison as their sentences will run concurrently except for Nyosi, who was sentenced to life and 95 years. He will serve life and 30 years as the sentences will also run concurrently.
Ncengwa was the first to be arrested by police and charged with Magaqa’s murder. He was found in prison awaiting trial for the cash heist.
He had been languishing in jail and did not even apply for bail in Magaqa’s murder.
Commenting on the sentence, Magaqa’s brother Lwazi Magaqa said although it had brought hope that justice would finally prevail for his brother’s murder, the family still wanted all those who planned and killed Magaqa to be found guilty and pay for their sins.
One of Magaqa’s friends, Thabiso Zulu, said it did not mean anything to him and called it a sideshow. He said even if the court found the accused guilty of other crimes, it would not mean justice had been served for Magaqa’s murder.
“We need plotters, we need people who bought cars and firearms to be used, so Ncengwa’s sentence is just a sideshow,” said Zulu.
During the shoot-out with police, one of the gang members killed was Jabulani Sgora Mdunge, who was believed to have pulled the trigger on Magaqa. He was said to have been with Ncengwa during the attack on Magaqa in July 2017.
Last month the Ixopo Magistrate’s Court granted three accused who were also linked to Magaqa’s murder R5 000 bail. The men are Mbulelo Mpofana and two former policemen, Sibonelo Myeza and Mlungisi Ncalane.