End of the road for terror gang . . . 8 robbers locked up for 629 years

“THE GODFATHER” . . . Nqobizitha Ncube

“THE GODFATHER” . . . Nqobizitha Ncube

“We need to send them away for a very long time so that we send a message to like-minded would-be criminals.”

Bulawayo Bureau
Eight men who brought terror to the residents of Cowdray Park and Luveve suburbs in Bulawayo, raping women and robbing residents, will never hurt anyone again after they were jailed for a combined 629 years on Thursday.

A ninth member of the gang, shot by police while trying to flee, did not stand trial as he is hospitalised.

Police say they are also looking for a 10th suspect.

Prosecutors said the criminals committed a combined 90 crimes between December last year and January 16 this year.

The final twisted act in their reign of terror was when they raped two teachers and a third woman at Luveve High School.

The eight, aged between 21 and 36, pleaded guilty to all the charges, which included multiple counts of rape, robbery, unlawful entry and carjacking.

Three regional magistrates – Ms Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze, Mr Mark Dzira and Mr Chrispen Mberewere – took turns to preside over the cases divided into 10 records.

Mr Mberewere declared that for once, residents of Luveve, Cowdray Park and surrounding areas would have a peaceful night knowing that justice has taken its course.

The mastermind of the 10-man gang and the oldest of them, Nqobizitha Ncube (36), of Old Pumula, who took part in almost all the crimes, was incarcerated for an effective 166 years.

The youngest -Lewis Ndlovu (21), of Nugget Mine in Matopos, and Milton Ndlovu (23), of Silobela, Lower Gweru – were each jailed for 34 years.

Three Dlamini brothers from Pumula East – Gift (32), Buyani (25) and Stanford (22) – told the magistrates that poverty drove them to use machetes, knives, axes and torches to instill fear in their victims before robbing and raping them.

Buyani was slapped with an effective 122 years in jail, while Stanford and Gift got 85 years and 18 years respectively.

To a stunned gallery, Mlungisi Maphosa (24) revealed that he was a father of five children with different women and was expecting his sixth child with his heavily pregnant wife.

His children will not see him home for the next 58 years – if he is still alive. He would be 82 by then.

Maphosa’s address was listed as Baines Junior Primary School – although he is not thought to be an employee of the school.

“In coming up with your sentence, the court considered that you pleaded guilty to all counts and did not waste time. However, as the old saying goes, ‘crime does not pay’, and there’s no doubt you deserve a deterrent sentence,” Mr Dzira told the vile criminal gang during sentencing.

“A woman’s privates are a treasure reserved for a few chosen ones and as men, it’s high time we learnt that when women say no, we respect their bodies and stop raping them.”

Mr Dzira sentenced Ncube, Buyani and Nkiwane to a total of 28 years for three counts of robbery and handed over to Ms Msipa-Marondedze.

She began: “After considering the aggravatory circumstances surrounding these crimes, it’s clear that the accused persons are not only a danger to the community, but have become a danger to themselves.

“We need to send them away for a very long time so that we send a message to like-minded would-be criminals.”

Ms Msipa-Marondedze sentenced Ncube, Buyani and Nkiwane to 26 effective years each for gang-raping and robbing a woman in a bushy area near Luveve cemetery on December 11.

She went on: “Gang rape is a very serious crime and traumatising in nature. Maphosa’s act of dragging a woman out of her bedroom leaving behind the husband and raping her in her own living room is unacceptable. He belittled the victim’s husband.”

For the crime, committed in Cowdray Park, Maphosa was locked up for 16 years.

Mr Mberewere took over from Ms Msipa-Marondedze and rebuked the gang for terrorising residents.

He told the evil gang: “For once, residents of Luveve, Cowdray Park and surrounding areas will have a peaceful night tonight knowing justice has taken its course and that their tormentors are behind bars.

“Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and we’ll not tire sentencing like-minded criminals like you to lengthy periods in jail to maintain that peace.”

Mr Mberewere said the maximum penalty for rape was reserved for the worst cases and labelled Ncube and Maphosa as arguably the most perverted rapists to have come before his court.

Ncube pleaded guilty to five counts of rape, and Maphosa to three.

“There’s no sane man who can rape and dream of doing community service for such a crime,” said Mr Mberewere. “I believe my solid 20-year sentences are justifiable and deserved by Ncube and Maphosa who had the guts to drag a woman out of her car in the presence of her boyfriend into a bushy where they took turns to rape her twice each.”

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