A gang who prowled Johannesburg dumping sites and shot dead rubbish pickers will spend at least the next three decades in jail.
Captain Xoli Mbele said two men were killed at the Genesis dumping site last year because they refused to pay the gang R400 “protection money” every week.
The High Court in Johannesburg last week found the gang of four guilty of murder‚ attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances‚ Mbele said on Sunday.
Francis Mokoaela Mopedinyane 26‚ was sent to jail for 45 years while Setene Lei‚ 33‚ Emmanuel Lefa Setlaba‚ 34‚ and Thabiso Morobi‚ 32‚ were each sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.
The four men’s crime spree started on March 2 last year at 1.30am when they accosted a security guard‚ tied him up with his shoe laces and stole two pump guns from him.
In May that year‚ the four men shot dead Bartholomew Seabata Sehloho‚ 39‚ at the Genesis dumping site near Rosettenville road.
“The victim was at the dumping site collecting rubbish goods for recycling when he was shot several times in the upper body‚” Mbele said‚ explaining that there had been an argument over the so-called protection money.
Three days later‚ the gang targeted security guards at the Booysens railway station‚ assaulting them and making off with a firearm and cell phones.
A week later‚ the men committed the second murder.
“[They] shot and killed Lehlohonolo Mphonyane‚ a 36-year-old male‚ at the corner of Funnel and Rosettenville roads. The deceased was pushing his trolley for recycling when he was shot several times in the upper body.”
Mbele said an eyewitness to the first murder had pointed the four men out when the police visited the Genesis dumping site in June 2017.
A shootout ensued and the four men were arrested.