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Massive sentences for R1-wielding robbers

A gang of dangerous robbers who had terrorised shop owners in mining areas near Carletonville and Westonaria will likely never step into the daylight as free men again.

According to the investigating officer, Capt Soon Theron of the Carletonville detective services, Lehlohonolo Simon Phala, Jonas Naila and Ratsoloane Tsoloane, were arrested on 16 December 2015 after robbing shops in various mining towns and areas at gunpoint that year. They were arrested after the police received information following a robbery at a shop in Deelkraal. Among other weapons, the thugs used a stolen SANDF R1 rifle. A shop owner was killed in one of the robberies.
The suspects never revealed where they had hidden the gun, but bal- listic tests on all the R1 bullets at the scenes where the men had been found guilty revealed that they had come from the same firearm. Shells from a 9 mm pistol were also found at the scenes. This firearm and a toy gun were found at the men’s hideout in Blyvoor.
The three illegal immigrants from Lesotho appeared in the Carleton- ville regional court in front of the magistrate, Mr Jan Steyn, on 4 December.
Phala (36) was found guilty on a charge of murder, four charges of attempted murder, three of robbery with aggravating circumstances and charges of malicious damage to property and the possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
He received life imprisonment for the murder, 15 years for each charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for each of the attempted murder charges, five years for malicious damage to property and another five for the possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
Naila (38) was also found guilty of murder, four charges of attempted murder, four of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one of malicious property damage.
He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years on each of the robbery-with-aggravating-circumstances charges, ten years for two of the attempted murder charges and five years for the other two. Naila received another five years for malicious damage to property. Ratsoloane (38) was also found guilty on the murder charge and four charges of attempted murder, three of robbery with aggravating circumstances, a charge of malicious damage to property and one charge each of fraud and defeating the administration of justice. The last charges stem from him forging his passport. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and 15 years for each charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances. He received five years for each attempted murder, five years for the malicious damage to property, ten years for the attempted murder charges and another five for fraud and defeating the administration of justice.
Detectives who are part of the serious and violent crimes and housebreaking units and the tracing team and AngloGold Ashanti’s security personnel worked together to bring the thugs to justice.

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