Two get 70 years for holding up Durban family

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“They threatened the couple with firearms and forced them into the house.”

Two men were handed a combined 70 years in the Verulam Regional Court for holding up a Durban family, robbing them and raping a 17-year-old girl.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said that Sihle Biyela was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for his role in the attack on the family, while 29-year old Msawenkosi Gumede was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for his role in the 2013 attack.

Ramkisson said that the two men, wielding firearms, had confronted two of the family members at their Phoenix home and marched them into the house where there were other family members.

“They threatened the couple with firearms and forced them into the house where they joined the rest of the family. The complainants were held captive in the lounge by accused 1 (Biyela) while his co-accused (Gumede) took them one at a time into the other rooms, demanding cash and other valuables,” said Ramkisson.

Each person was assaulted by Gumede and forced to point out their belongings and part with their cellphones.

The last person forced to point out her belongings was the 17-year-old girl, who was then raped by Gumede.

“Thereafter, the accused loaded the TV, HiFi, DVD player, clothing and other items into one of the complainant’s vehicles. The man was then forced at gunpoint to drive the accused to the entrance of the Amaoti township where they [Gumede and Biyela] lived.”

The two men were linked to the crime through finger and palm prints, as well as a positive identification.

Both men were convicted of five counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping, while Gumede was also found guilty of rape.

Gumede is unlikely to see the outside of prison in his lifetime. Ramkisson said that he had been convicted in the Durban High Court last July and was sentenced to three life sentences and 107 years in another Durban for other offences of rape and robbery that he had committed from 2004 to 2012.

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