POLOKWANE – After carrying out a brazen spree of robberies on numerous jewellery stores, including, presumably, Sterns Thabazimbi, Ronald Mabunda (35) and Peter Mavamba (34) were eventually brought to justice and sentenced to an effective 20 years imprisonment on 26 August 2009 in the Polokwane Regional Court.
On 15 May 2006 Sterns in Thabazimbi was robbed by two black male adults using the same modus operandi and matching the same description as Mavamba and Mabunda. However, the Thabazimbi case was not added due to logistical problems, and the local case, which was referred to Serious Violent Crimes, has therefore, technically, not been resolved.
The Court heard that during 2006 and 2007 numerous jewellery stores had been robbed at gun point by the robbers. The robberies came to an end when the two were arrested in April 2007 when they tried to rob jewellers at Savanah Mall in Polokwane.
Witnesses as far afield as Bronkhorstspruit and Makhado recounted how they had been tied up by the robbers before the store was robbed. They further told of the brutality of the robbers and near asphyxiation when, with their hands tied behind their backs, they could not breathe as tape had been wound over their mouths and noses by the robbers. One victim was eight months pregnant, but she too was forced to lie on the ground.
The Magistrate heard that although only 6 cases had been brought before the Court, other stores had also been robbed under similar circumstances. The Jewellers had not only lost thousands of Rands of jewellery to the robbers, but in addition hundreds of man hours had been wasted due to the robberies and the extended period the trial took to come to finality.