BETHAL – The Bethal Magistrates Court this week sentenced Nhlanhla Mkhabela (21) and his co-accused to seven years imprisonment for attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances.   This is after a lengthy trial that took almost two years.

The sentencing follows an attempted robbery that occurred at about 8:00 in the morning of Friday, 21 August 2016 in Bethal at a speedy cash loans business when a 70 year-old female was attacked by Mkhabela and his co-accused Elias Trevor Mhlongo (29) while she was opening the business for trade.

According to the spokesperson of the Bethal SAPS, Constable Mahlatse Thomas Mogadime, the attackers entered the premises and forcefully opened the security door.

“They suddenly pushed the old victim to the ground and demanded keys to the safe from her,” Constable Mogadime told the Village Voice News.

“During the incident, the victim sustained slight injuries and however managed to overpower the suspects for she threw the safe-keys into another office that contained a safety-door, which prevented the suspects to access them and rob-off the cash.

“While busy fighting the attackers, fortunately passers-by came to her rescue.  Then the attackers left her and started to flee from the scene.  However, community members who have by now seen the incident gave chase and managed to apprehend one suspect and handed him over to the police.

“Following the information gathered during the investigation, Detective Victor Nkadimeng of the Bethal Police managed to arrest the second suspect later on the same day.

“The suspects were then charged and appeared at Bethal Magistrates Court on several occasions facing charges of attempted robbery where on their first appearance regarding the said case, both suspects were released on bail pending investigations,” Constable Mogadime said.

He also added that during the court proceedings all witnesses were summoned to testify, though Elias Trevor Mhlongo, accused number two did not pitch, therefore a warrant of arrest was issued for him and the court found it satisfactory to convict the accused.

The court also declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm.

“The station Commander for Bethal Police, Lt. Col. Petrus Nzima welcomed the sentence and thanked the investigating officer for the hard work and dedication in securing the conviction,” he concluded