Johannesburg – Three suspected members of the infamous Rolex Gang have been found guilty on nine charges of robbery with aggravated circumstances, one of murder and three of attempted murder.
Betha Mphikeleni, Sipho Mabundla and George Mulaudzi were initially suspected of committing 12 robberies over six weeks in 2014 as part of the Rolex Gang, tracking down people who had recently purchased highly valuable items.
However, on Wednesday in the high court sitting in Palm Ridge, Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa found the trio guilty of nine armed robberies and the murder of their accomplice.
Mphikeleni, Mabundla and Mulaudzi were arrested on April 22, 2014 after a dramatic high-speed chase and shootout with police officer Derek Bruce Macintosh.
During the gunfight, the driver of their vehicle, Clifford Ngcobo, was killed, probably by a bullet fired by one of his cohorts.
Judge Mngqibisa said that alongside forensic analysis clearing Macintosh of being responsible for Ngcobo’s death, the fact that the four men had participated in the shootout meant they all knew one of them could be killed. Because of this, she found the trio all guilty of murder dolus eventualis, for indirectly killing Ngcobo through their behaviour.
The 12 armed robberies that formed the basis of the State’s case involved the three men allegedly using various getaway vehicles to rob their suspects, a white BMW, a Mercedes-Benz and a Chevrolet Lumina.
While forensic evidence had connected them to the incidents using the Mercedes and the Lumina, the judge was unconvinced the State had proved the men’s connection to the three robberies involving the BMW.
The three were also found guilty of two charges of malicious damage to property, two counts of unlawful possession of firearms and one of unlawful possession of ammunition.
Sentencing will begin on July 25.
LIST OF INCIDENTS:
* March 28 to April 22, 2014: Betha Mphikeleni, Sipho Mabundla and George Mulaudzi executed nine armed robberies.
* March 28, 2014: Carine Dorothea Walker is almost killed near Glenvista by suspects – believed to be the same men – wearing balaclavas in a white Mercedes. When she tried to escape, they opened fired at her car.
* April 1, 2014: Laurent Belle-garde is hijacked in Tulisa Park by men with balaclavas.
* April 3, 2014: Tamsin Scheepers and Julian Kruger are robbed near Media City in Sandton.
* April 8, 2014: Yvonne Gutsche is robbed near Baker Street in Rosebank.
* April 10, 2014: Lisa Anne Niemann is robbed near the Mio Palazzo Complex in Sunninghill.
* April 11, 2014: Daniel Stephen is robbed near the Stoneridge Shopping Centre.
* April 17, 2014: Lance O’Leary is robbed near the Tangiers Complex in Oaklands.
* April 22, 2014: Christine Close is robbed in Rivonia Road in Sandown by armed men.