Imprisonment for four conspiring to rob


Four men were sentenced to prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime in the Bloemfontein Regional Court this week. One of the men was given an additional prison sentence because he was also caught in possession of a high caliber firearm.

Capt. Loraine Earle, police spokesperson, says that in September last year, during the Eyes and Ears (E2) initiative in the Free State, the police received information about a suspicious vehicle that was heading towards Bloemfontein on the N6. According to the information, there was an unlicensed firearm in the vehicle.

“Members of the Bloemfontein flash patrol stopped an Audi A4 around 22:30, after which they searched the vehicle and came across a .458 caliber hunting rifle. The serial number of the firearm had been filed off.

“The police also found nine .458 cartridges, one silver silencer, several rolls of tin foil, a cooler bag and three hunting knives,” says Earle.

The police’s livestock theft and endangered species unit in Bloemfontein was later involved in the investigation because the suspects were suspected of poaching rhinos in the Bethulie/Smithfield area.

Earle says after a thorough investigation by ao. Stefan Grobbelaar, the investigating officer, found Andries Melusi Mkhabela (40), Solomon Mahlaule (48), Johannes Maluleke (60) and Daniel Bqaq (31) guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime.

“Maluleke also pleaded guilty to being in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.”

In terms of the National Environmental Management and Biodiversity Act, the four men were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Maluleke was sentenced to an additional five years for possessing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.