News – Date: 04 November 2017
Written by: Isabel Venter
Four macadamia thieves appeared in the Louis Trichardt District Court this week where they were punished for their crimes.
Bushy Nedzamba Musiiwa (33), Always Nedzamba (43), Eric Makanise (42) and Jimmy Munyai (34) pleaded guilty to single counts of theft. They were caught red-handed while stealing a bakkie load full of macadamias from Mr Fritz Ahrens on 10 April this year.
According to Ahrens, the men (who were all in his employ at that stage) managed to switch off the security cameras in order for them to pick the nuts. They were caught leaving the farm with the bakkie.
In their plea explanation, which was read into the court record by their legal representative, the men did not give a reason as to why they had unlawfully taken a load of nuts. They did, however, offer an apology to Ahrens and asked the court not to hand down a sentence of direct imprisonment . The men stated that they, together with their families, had been punished enough in the months following their arrest since they lost their income.
“The complainant [Ahrens] has not suffered any financial loss … the goods were recovered in a good marketable condition,” said the four men.
State prosecutor Bethuel Makhado pointed out to the court, however, that the fact that the men were without employment and income was as a result of their own actions. “Did they work on the farm for free? No, they committed a serious offence. If this court does not give out stiffer sentences, we will not be rid of this cancer … day in and day out this court deals with the theft of avocadoes and macadamias,” said Makhado.
Makhado further pointed out that, taking into consideration that all four had been employed at the farm, they might have been at the head of an established syndicate.
The court took this into consideration and sentenced all four men to a fine of R10 000 or 18 months’ imprisonment, of which the fine was suspended to the amount of R5 000 or nine months wholly suspended for five years.
This in effect means that the men were slapped with a R5 000 fine each, which they were ordered to pay in instalments over the next three months. Their bail money, which they paid in the amount of R5 000 after their arrest, was also declared forfeited to the State.