A construction worker in his early 30s was jailed for 15 years by the Parow Regional Court on Wednesday for the armed attack on two metro police constables in broad daylight while they were on vehicle patrol in the Cape Flats.
Magistrate Constance Nziweni ruled that there were no substantial or compelling reasons to sentence him to any period less than the prescribed minimum for the aggravated armed robbery of law enforcement officers.
The magistrate told Luvo Buswana, 33: “I am not persuaded that there are any compelling reasons to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence, and I thus have no option but to jail you for 15 years.”
Although already armed during the attack, Buswana robbed the two officers, Nathan St Jerry and Regan Philander, of their firearms, and then fired shots at the tyres of the patrol vehicle.
Three men were in fact involved in the robbery in June last year in Langa, but Buswana, who owned the car used in the robbery, was the only one brought to book for it.
The two accomplices are still at large.
The magistrate said the aggravating factors far outweighed the mitigation offered to the court by defence attorney Yamkela Nkwali, namely that Buswana was a first-time offender.
The magistrate agreed with prosecutor Barry van der Berg that the legislature in fact had had first-time offenders in mind when minimum sentence legislation was introduced.
The prosecutor added: “This is the typical kind of case that the Minimum Sentence Act has in mind.”
The magistrate said Buswana had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, an indication that he lacked remorse entirely.
The magistrate said the two firearms that were stolen in the robbery had not been recovered, and the court shuddered at the thought of the firearms now being in circulation among the criminal element for use in more violent crime.
The magistrate said law enforcement officers were employed to protect the community, and they should not be fearful of the performance of their duties.
She added: “Nothing illegal should undermine public confidence in them, and it is of utmost importance that they discharge their duties without fear.
“We cannot have a situation in which criminals outsmart our law enforcement officers.”
The magistrate said the incident was a brazen attack in broad daylight, and that St Jerry and Philander were targeted for their firearms.
“The robbery was well-planned and well-executed,” she said.
The magistrate said to have sentenced Buswana to anything less than the prescribed minimum would send out the wrong message to the community, encourage would-be offenders and innocent people would want to take the law into their own hands.
In a display of mercy, she added: “This is not the end of the road for you – you can still appeal both the conviction and sentence, if you wish.”
– African News Agency (ANA)