A THIRTY-year-old man was convicted and sentenced on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and theft of a motor vehicle.
Thulani Lushaba was found guilty on all charges when he appeared in the Stilfontein Regional Court earlier this week.
He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 8 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder and 8 years’ imprisonment for theft of motor vehicle, of which 4 years was suspended for 5 years with conditions. The sentences will run concurrently.
The provincial head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in the North West province, Major-General Patrick Mbotho, welcomed the hefty sentence.
Lushaba was arrested on the March 26, 2019 in Germiston by the Klerksdorp-based Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation team after he was linked to the gold concentrate heist incident in Stilfontein.
“The SSG security vehicle transporting gold concentrate between Orkney and Nicolor gold plant was ambushed by a group of suspects armed with large calibre firearms on February 8, 2019. The suspects rammed the security vehicle and shots were fired at the security personnel, resulting in the vehicle coming to a standstill,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase in a statement released on Sunday.
Nkwalase said the suspects took the gold concentrate with a value of approximately R35 million and fled the scene.
A security officer was injured during the incident. A Volkswagen Tiguan that was used during the robbery was later found abandoned in the Stilfontein area.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the vehicle used in the crime was reportedly hijacked in Linden in January 2019.