- S v Tilayi appeal case no: CA 22/2020 High Court Mthatha dated 9 March 2021 and 2021 (2) SACR 350 (ECM)
Mr Mbiyozo Zanodumo Tilayi, the accused, was convicted during a summary trial before the High Court in Mthatha (“the trial court”) of the following offences:
Count 1: murder of a SAPS member; counts 3 to 6: attempted murder; count 8: attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances; and counts 9 and 10: unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The accused was sentenced as follows by the trial court:
Count 1: life incarceration; count 8: 15 years’ incarceration; and in respect of the remaining counts, 18 and eight years’ incarceration respectively.
Not satisfied with this outcome, the accused appealed to a full bench of three judges of this same High Court in Mthatha (“the court of appeal”) against all his convictions and sentences.
Regarding count 8 supra - attempted robbery with aggravated circumstances - it appears that the accused was a member of a group of persons who on 15 September 2005, carefully planned and made preparations (Afrikaans: “voorberei-dings”) to commit an armed robbery by intercepting and holding up a cash-in-transit vehicle belonging to Cash Paymaster Services. The vehicle was scheduled to deliver cash money at a pension pay-out point at Majavu village in the district Tsolo, just north of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. The conspirators (Afrikaans: “samesweerders”) held a meeting at which the robbery was planned. To that end they obtained heavy calibre firearms such as AK-47, R4 and R5 rifles, as well as an Isuzu pickup truck and a Honda Ballade sedan. The sedan was a stolen vehicle. After a cleansing ceremony* was held, the conspirators travelled in two groups to a predetermined point along the route of the money van. While lying in wait for the arrival of the money van, the conspirators received two phone calls. The first was from a co-conspirator who was placed along the route near Tsolo as a lookout. He warned them that the money van was accompanied by police officials. A similar message was received from one of their informants, apparently an employee of Cash Paymaster Services, warning them that their presence on the road had been discovered, and that the police was present. Discretion being the better part of valour*, the conspirators decided that they should leave the area. The only road leaving out of the area was the one on which the approaching convoy accompanying the money van was travelling.