SAPS Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga welcomed the sentence handed out this week to 51-year-old Lumnkile Manene and 37-year-old Zukile Vena who attacked two elderly women on a farm in Alexandria in the early hours of 29 January this year.
In a particularly cruel twist, a woman who had been widowed three weeks before was in the company of a friend who came to comfort her when the incident took place. She and the friend were asleep in the house, when her three dogs’ insistent barking woke her up.
As she entered the lounge, she saw three men who has entered the house.
The men tied the wrists of both women with cable ties and bound their legs to the chair legs with packaging tape. They then ransacked the house, took an undisclosed amount of cash and a firearm. After around two hours, they made their getaway in the victim’s Isuzu bakkie. Both women were bruised and severely traumatised.
The alarm was raised when one of the women managed to free herself and alert the police. The speedy response by members of the Port Elizabeth Flying Squad resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the recovery of the vehicle in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, less than two hours after they left the scene.
Several items were found in the men’s possession including applications for a firearm license belonging to the owner of the farm, safe keys, cash, household items and a .38 Special Revolver taken from the farm.
Lumnkile Manene had two previous convictions – robbery and escape from lawful custody – and was on parole. He carried out the Alexandria attack a month after his release.
Zukile Vena had five previous convictions – three for housebreaking, one for theft and one for robbery.
Mphathi Advocate Nkomonde, who was shot during the confrontation with police was out on bail for a robbery on a farm in Somerset East.
When handing down sentence, Judge Bloem of the Grahamstown High Court said it had been a planned robbery. They had arrived with bolt cutters, knowing that the house was secured. They also came with gloves, duct tape, cable ties and knives.
Advocate Jan Engelbrecht from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions worked closely with the Investigating Officer to prepare the case.
The two surviving suspects remained in custody for the duration of the trial.
Earlier this month both were found guilty of housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, and aggravated robbery. Ntshinga said, “Successful convictions and sentences are based on several pillars, including crime scene management, meticulous statements, honest witness testimony and a solid relationship between the investigator and the National Prosecuting Authority.”
Lumnkile Manene (left) was sentenced to four years imprisonment for housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, and for aggravated robbery 20 years imprisonment
Zukile Vena (right) was sentenced to four years imprisonment for housebreaking with intent to commit robbery and 15 years imprisonment for aggravated robbery.