Pretoria – The Ingwavuma Regional Court found a cross-border vehicle smuggler who terrorised communities in northern KwaZulu-Natal guilty of numerous offences, and sentenced him to 55-years in prison.
Vusi Amos Zulu Malwane, 44, was handed to six-year imprisonment terms for kidnapping; 30 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances (hijacking); and 15 years for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
“For more than a decade, Malwane led a syndicate that was behind a spate of motor vehicle hijackings in Emanguzi and surrounding areas,” said national police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe.
Mathe said after hijacking the vehicles, Malwane would smuggle them into neighbouring Mozambique through various borders in the province.
Malwane escaped from custody in 2014. The court sentenced him to four years’ imprisoment for the escape.
He was rearrested by the police’s Emanguzi cross-border operation task team deployed to clamp down on cross-border crimes including vehicle theft, on May 9.
Meanwhile, national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Fannie Masemola said the task team continued to register commendable progress with the arrest of 75 suspects since its deployment four months ago.
“Following our interventions and deployments to the area, 37 vehicles have since been recovered, as well as 27 illegal firearms and 321 rounds of ammunition seized,” said Masemola.
∎ In a separate incident, five suspects were killed after in a gun battle with KZN police on Abbot Francis Road in Mariannhill on Thursday afternoon.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said one of the suspects was on the wanted list for a series of murders and other serious violent crimes.
“He was also linked to the Mariannhill scrapyards murder crime scenes where five people were shot and killed in two separate incidents in February this year,” Netshiunda said.