An Eastern Cape man convicted of robbing a post office has been sentenced to a lengthy term in prison. Picture: Pixabay
An Eastern Cape man convicted of robbing a post office has been sentenced to a lengthy term in prison. Picture: Pixabay

Post office robber sentenced to life in prison plus 55 years

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Sep 29, 2021

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Cape Town – An Eastern Cape man convicted of robbing a post office in January 2019 has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Grahamstown High Court.

Sinethemba Zungula, 36, faced charges of murder, robbery, attempted murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition.

On January 15, 2019, at about 8.40am, three men robbed the Maclear post office.

According to police, one of the suspects in the incident was a post office employee as an inside man.

The two other suspects involved in the crime stole an undisclosed amount of money and hijacked a Telkom vehicle on the same premises as the post office.

Evidence before the court revealed that police gave chase until the vehicle was left abandoned on a gravel road where the duo fled on foot.

A chase ensued and during the shootout with police one of the suspects, later identified as Sonwabile Somyalo, 40, was shot and killed.

Police found a R4 rifle next to Somyalo’s body.

At the time, Zungula, who was unknown to officers, managed to flee.

An intensive investigation by Maclear police’s detective unit managed to link the post office employee to the crime and he was subsequently arrested.

The employee also subsequently led detectives to their missing suspect and this resulted in the arrest of Zungula from the Chulunga location in Qumba on February 19, 2019.

Zungula was convicted on September 21.

The court sentenced him to 20 years for robbery, life imprisonment for murder (as a result of his co-accused that was shot by police), 10 years each for two counts of attempted murder, 10 years for the possession of a firearm and a further five years for the possession of ammunition.

The court acquitted the post office employee from any charges as he had explained he was forced to participate in the robbery.

The Acting District Police Commissioner, Brigadier Rudolph Adolph, commended the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Lwando Tshetsha, for a meticulous and professional investigation conducted that ensured the hefty sentence.

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