Jailed South African truck-jacker bid for freedom flops

The Bulawayo High Court has dismissed an application for bail pending appeal by a South African man who was convicted of stealing a haulage truck worth R1.5 million.

Justice Nokuthula Moyo upheld a 12-year jail term sentence which had been passed by the Plumtree magistrate’s court. 

Rejoirie Matsiela (38) from Soweto, stole the truck from Transmatty Group of Companies in Middleburg and drove through South Africa-Botswana and Botswana Plumtree border posts undetected.

He was nabbed as he prepared to leave Plumtree with the truck which was towing two trailers after the company activated the truck’s mobile tracker.

Matsiela was handed a 16-year prison term and four years were suspended on condition of good behaviour leaving him with an effective sentence of 12 years.

In his defence, through legal practitioners Messrs T. Hara and Partners, Matsiela had argued he was hired by one Nhlanhla Simelani to drive to Mt Selinda to rescue another truck that had been stuck there.

“Appellant does not have a legal obligation to verify documents he would have been given by his employer or superior at work… No evidence was led to establish that Appellant was part of a syndicate and therefore he knew he was aiding a crime of theft,” said Matsiela.

According to the State case as presented by Kudakwashe Jaravaza, June 21, the driver of the Iveko Trekker knocked off duty and parked the vehicle at Ferret Parking bay within the company complex and surrendered the keys to security personnel.

On June 25, Matsiela hatched a plan to steal the truck and fraudulently obtained its registration papers and keys and drove out of the parking bay.

“That morning, the head of security Bonginkosi Mkhwananzi discovered that the vehicle was missing from the parking bay and activated its tracking device which located it crossing into Zimbabwe through Botswana,” said Jaravaza.

Jaravaza said police at Plumtree border post received information and intercepted Matsiela who had completed immigration and customs formalities and was about to leave. 

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