Camps Bay gang boss jailed for life

Re­lieved res­i­dents pack court­room on fi­nal day

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAN­DISO PHAL­ISO

LUIS Mo­madi, de­scribed as the “com­man­der” of the crime syn­di­cate that ter­rorised Camps Bay for nearly three years, was jailed for life by a Western Cape High Court judge yes­ter­day.

He had been con­victed of rape, rob­bery, house­break­ing, rack­e­teer­ing and money laun­der­ing.

Two ac­com­plices, Ar­naldo Faife and Roge­rio Laice, con­victed of the same charges ex­cept the rape, were jailed for 17 years, as was Sa­ba­tine Okele, who was con­victed of rob­bery, house­break­ing and pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­erty.

A fifth man and the only South African, Tham­sanqa Ma­fuya, was sen­tenced to 18 months’ im­pris­on­ment, sus­pended for five years.

Judge James Yek­iso said Mo­madi had “played a lead­ing role and played the po­si­tion of a com­man­der”.

The sen­tenc­ing fol­lows a three-year trial that came af­ter an un­prece­dented spate of rob­beries in the up­mar­ket sub­urb be­tween 2006 and 2008.

Court records show the men chose homes near green­belts so they had easy es­cape routes.

They pre­ferred to raid houses when the oc­cu­pants were home. They would break in, tie the res­i­dents up with rope or cord, beat them and steal valu­ables such as jew­ellery, lap­tops, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances and cash.

In one case Mo­madi raped a res­i­dent.

“It is in the bal­anc­ing of all the rel­e­vant fac­tors that a proper sen­tence is de­ter­mined,” said the judge.

Af­ter the sen­tenc­ing, Camps Bay res­i­dents who had packed the gallery to hear the fate of the five men said they were grate­ful that the crim­i­nals would now be be­hind bars.

Ian Mer­ring­ton, chair­man of Camps Bay Watch, said peo­ple “felt grat­i­fied, es­pe­cially at the life im­pris­on­ment sen­tence”. He said the court had done well in sen­tenc­ing Mo­madi to life im­pris­on­ment, en­sur­ing “he will be off the streets for good”.

The 17-year sen­tences for Faife, Laice and Okele were lighter than res­i­dents would have wished, said Mer­ring­ton.

“We would have been hap­pier if they had re­ceived not less than 30 years each.”

He said the crimes were “very se­ri­ous”, but on the plus side it was un­likely they would get pa­role. Mer­ring­ton said he and res­i­dents ac­cepted Ma­fuya’s sus­pended sen­tence, as Ma­fuya did not ap­pear to have taken an ac­tive part in the rob­beries.

The court could only find him guilty of be­ing in pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­erty. He said those on the re­ceiv­ing end of the spate of up to 20 rob­beries had been “se­verely trau­ma­tised” and jus­tice had pre­vailed in the end. But it was un­for­tu­nate, he said, that some peo­ple who had lived in Camps Bay for years had de­cided to move to other coun­tries be­cause of the crime.

Ma­fuya’s fa­ther, Good­man Ma­fuya, who was present in court for the first time since the trial started three years ago, said he was happy his son would be back at home.

But he said he was un­happy with Mo­madi’s life sen­tence, ask­ing, “Who will feed his chil­dren while he is away?”

Mo­madi has a two-year-old son, whom he has never seen, a six-year-old daugh­ter and an eight-year-old daugh­ter.

Ma­fuya’s fa­ther said the fam­ily would send Ma­fuya to the East­ern Cape to be re­ha­bil­i­tated. – West Cape News

PIC­TURE: JA­SON BOUD

FIN­ISHED: Five men who were con­nected to a string of crimes in Camps Bay be­tween 2006 and 2008 were sen­tenced yes­ter­day in the Western Cape High Court.

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