The Regional Court in De Aar has recently sentenced a 24-year-old man to 18 years in prison for three counts of housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft.
Andile Qwathi, who was already on parole for robbery, committed multiple housebreakings at the Ikwezi Day Care Centre in Nonzwakazi, Northern Cape. The court found him guilty of stealing televisions and computer screens.
Between April and May of this year, Qwathi carried out a series of burglaries at the Ikwezi Day Care Centre. On April 30, he broke into the centre and stole a TV worth R6,000, which he later sold for a mere R100.
Just a few days later, on May 6, Qwathi returned to the centre and stole a Samsung flat-screen television and a computer screen worth R7,000, which he sold for R150. His third attempt on May 8 was foiled when the alarm went off, leading to his immediate arrest.
The Prosecution’s Argument
During the trial, Advocate Corrie Jonker, the Regional Court Prosecutor, presented evidence of Qwathi’s previous convictions for housebreaking and theft.
The fact that Qwathi was still on parole for robbery at the time of these crimes was seen as a clear indication that he had not been successfully rehabilitated. The prosecution argued that a long-term imprisonment was necessary to protect the law-abiding community from the accused.
The Court’s Decision
After considering the arguments put forth by the prosecution and the accused’s criminal history, the court agreed with the State and handed down a sentence of six years imprisonment for each crime. In total, Qwathi will serve 18 years behind bars.
Commendation for the Investigating Officer
The National Prosecuting Authority commended Sergeant Moses, the Investigating Officer, for his speedy and thorough investigations in all three cases. The efficient handling of the case dockets ensured that the State’s case was concluded swiftly.
This sentencing serves as a reminder that repeat offenders will face the full force of the law. The Regional Court’s decision to impose a significant prison term on Andile Qwathi sends a strong message that the justice system is committed to protecting the community from those who continue to engage in criminal activities.