13 June 2017

South Africa: Besters Farm Attackers Sentenced

press release

On 12 June 2017, the Ladysmith Regional Court sentenced two accused who were responsible for committing a robbery at a farm in the Besters area. On Christmas Day in 2015 at around 09:00 a farmer, aged 57, was busy with his rounds on the farm when he was approached by two men. They suddenly produced a firearm and threatened to shoot him. They assaulted the man, tied him up with rope and left him near a water tank. The accused then proceeded to the farm house where they threatened and assaulted the farmer's wife, demanding money. The farmer managed to untie himself and rushed to his wife's aid.

While the suspects fled with firearms and cash, the farmer managed to alert other farmers. The accused were apprehended on the nearby N3 freeway and the stolen property was recovered. During the court case, it came out that the accused's actions were premeditated. They had committed a housebreaking at the property before the robbery and had then familiarized themselves with what was inside the house. They then returned to commit the house robbery. Thulasizwe Hadebe, 32, was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. He was declared unfit to possess a firearm. Qina Hlongwane, 32, was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He was also convicted of housebreaking and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Hlongwane was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa commended the victim for his bravery that led to the apprehension of the criminals. "Such attacks are so barbaric since they deprive other local communities of job opportunities provided by the farmers in the area. Other farmers are forced to leave everything behind and relocate after they have been victims of crime. The investigating officer did a good job by sending a well-prepared docket to court and also linking the accused with the burglary incident that they had committed earlier," he said.

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