Camps Bay gang boss jailed for life
Relieved residents pack courtroom on final day
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
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.