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OR Tambo Airport heist robbers put behind bars

03 December 2018 5:48 PM
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The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg handed lengthy terms of imprisonment to two men who committed a robbery at OR International Airport in 2017.

A third man, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, was also put behind bars.

In the robbery, which resembled a scene from a movie, the robbers made off with R24m in foreign currency.

According to National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane, Sibusiso Job Mnisi was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison,

Meanwhile, Prince Raphael Dube was sentenced to 45 years after he was convicted of two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one of theft and another of false representation for pretending to be a police officer. Frans Mathabatha Manaka was convicted of two counts of robbery and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Sketching the background to the case, Mjonondwane said the men acted in furtherance of a common purpose when they entered the airport wearing police uniforms in May 2017.

They even had a bakkie which was marked as a police vehicle and a white vehicle which had sirens and blue lights.

The robbers snatched 27 bags of foreign currency from a South African Airways flight at the airport.

"In handing down sentence, the court took into account that there were no fatalities during the time when these offences were committed.

"However, Acting Judge Mogotsi said he could also not impose a lesser sentence than the minimum prescribed sentence due to the seriousness of the offences committed, adding that there were no substantial or compelling circumstances justifying such deviation," said Mjonondwane.

"Praying for hefty sentences, [prosecutor Faghre] Mohamed raised the fact that ORTIA (OR Tambo International Airport) is a national key-point and people coming [to] and leaving South Africa must feel safe and the only way that can be realised is when those found guilty of wrongdoing pay a heavy price," she added.

Mjonondwane said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Gauteng, Andrew Chauke, was satisfied that the court arrived at a just sentence which was proportionate to the seriousness of the crimes committed.

"The sterling work by members of the criminal justice system in foiling the robbery is applauded," said Chauke.


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