Police applaud lengthy jail terms for airport 'follow-home' robbers
National police commissioner Gen Khehla John Sitole has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of four men for "follow-home robberies" from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Simphiwe Zwane, 42, Thulani Sibanda, 28, Qhubani Tshuma, 34, and Stanley Moyo, 40, had been following travellers from the airport to various destinations and robbing them.
"Their reign of terror came to an end when, on July 14 2017, members of the national investigation unit and the Gauteng provincial investigation unit, during an operation to combat airport-following robberies, spotted these four men in a sedan on the R21 highway in the vicinity of the airport," Sitole's office said in a statement.
"In trying to stop the suspects, a shootout ensued between the police and suspects. The suspects were eventually cornered and arrested."
The suspects were initially arrested for unlawful possession of arms and ammunition after the police team recovered a Z88 pistol, a 45-calibre pistol, a .38 Special revolver and several rounds of ammunition.
Follow-up investigations were conducted and the suspects were linked to armed robberies in Kempton Park, Olifantsfontein and Yeoville.
Following the lengthy trial, all four were convicted on May 24 2019 and subsequently sentenced.
Simphiwe Zwane was sentenced to an effective 31 years on all counts; Thulani Sibanda received an effective 30 years in jail; Qhubani Tshuma got an effective 15 years; and Stanley Moyo an effective 30 years.
"The lengthy sentences are most welcome as they will send a clear message on the seriousness with which the criminal justice system views these atrocious crimes," said Sitole.
He commended the investigators and the prosecution team.