District Mail

Armed rob­bers sen­tenced

- Jamey Gor­don Crime · Incidents · Prison · Foschini Group

HELDERBERG – A for­mer man­ager of Markham Som­er­set West and two ac­com­plices will spend time be­hind bars for armed rob­bery at the store in 2016.

Daniel Nduna (35) and his coac­cused, Siyabonga Ca­bela (29) and Thabiso Mnyun­gula (34), were con­victed in the Som­er­set West Re­gional Court last month.

Ac­cord­ing to Sergeant Suzan Jan­tjies, Som­er­set West po­lice spokesper­son, the ac­cused were found guilty of busi­ness rob­bery and ar­son on 15 July, and sen­tenced on 27 July to 10 years’ im­pris­on­ment, of which five are sus­pended on con­di­tion they are not con­victed of rob­bery again.

She said Nduna was also sen­tenced to an ad­di­tional 12 months’ im­pris­on­ment for de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

The sen­tenc­ing comes after stel­lar in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the armed rob­bery, which oc­curred at the men’s cloth­ing store on Mon­day 9 May 2016. The store, then lo­cated in Main Road be­fore its per­ma­nent clo­sure fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, was also set alight.

Distric­tMail re­ported that Nduna, the “mas­ter­mind” be­hind the rob­bery, was ar­rested at his Lwan­dle home not long af­ter­wards, on Fri­day 3 June.

The then 31-year-old had been em­ployed by The Fos­chini Group (TFG) for sev­eral years and had pre­vi­ously also worked at Markham Som­er­set Mall. TFG, at the time, de­clined to com­ment stat­ing the case was sub ju­dice.

Nduna ap­peared in the Som­er­set

West Mag­is­trates’ Court on Mon­day 6 June along­side his then 29-year-old friend and ac­com­plice in the rob­bery, Mnyun­gula.

It was re­ported that two of the men, pos­ing as cus­tomers, en­tered the shop just be­fore clos­ing time at 18:00, and asked to see shoes, which Nduna then got from a store­room at the back. On his re­turn he saw his male col­league had been tied up. One of the men al­legedly hit him on his head with a firearm. The rob­bers de­manded cash, cell­phones and shoes, which Nduna handed over to them.

Nduna claimed he passed out and, on re­gain­ing con­scious­ness, saw the store was en­gulfed in smoke. Be­fore flee­ing the scene the men set cloth­ing items near the store’s en­trance alight.

Smoke alarms alerted se­cu­rity com­pany per­son­nel, who rushed to the scene where they al­legedly found that Nduna had un­tied the sales as­sis­tant. Both men were taken to hospi­tal and were later dis­charged.

A case of busi­ness rob­bery and ar­son was opened for in­ves­ti­ga­tion and, ac­cord­ing to Jan­tjies, a break­through in the case re­sulted in Nduna and Mnyun­gula’s ar­rest weeks later. The third sus­pect, Ca­bela, then aged 25, was ar­rested later.

Som­er­set West po­lice sta­tion com­man­der Colonel Ja­col­ize Fleis­chmann wel­comed the sen­tence and all the ac­cused spend­ing time be­hind bars.

Fran­cois Hugo, head of foren­sics and se­cu­rity at TFG, this week said his team was cen­tral to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and as­sisted the po­lice in bring­ing the sus­pects to book. “It is re­ward­ing when the team’s hard work pays off and crim­i­nals are sen­tenced for their crimes,” he stated.

Hugo added that the group’s foren­sics and se­cu­rity team works hard to pro­tect its stores and em­ploy­ees. The state-ofthe-art con­trol room is manned around-the-clock and works closely with the po­lice in com­bat­ing crime.

“In the first half of this year, this very ef­fec­tive team dou­bled the num­ber of re­cov­er­ies from the pre­vi­ous year, which re­sulted in many ar­rests and the elim­i­na­tion of a num­ber of syn­di­cates. The safety and se­cu­rity of our em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers re­main our num­ber one pri­or­ity.”

He con­firmed the Som­er­set West store’s per­ma­nent clo­sure fol­low­ing the rob­bery and fire in 2016. “Gen­er­ally, there is a ro­bust process that con­sid­ers a va­ri­ety of op­er­a­tional fac­tors, in­clud­ing prof­itabil­ity, oc­cu­pancy costs, changes in lo­ca­tion de­sir­abil­ity and safety. In this case, all the above fac­tors have played a role in the de­ci­sion to not re­open the store.”

The store had been plagued by in­ci­dents of rob­bery, the May 2016 armed rob­bery and fire be­ing the sixth re­ported by Distric­tMail since June 2012.

 ??  ?? Daniel Nduna
Daniel Nduna

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