A Notorious AK 47-wielding gunman who went on a raping and robbing spree in Bulawayo has been sentenced to 80 years in prison. Sibangilizwe Mandebvu (29) will however, serve an effective 56 years in prison after 24 years of the sentence were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Mandebvu — a father of one with a heavily pregnant wife — unleashed a two month reign of terror in which he robbed at least eight people and raped a woman after tying her foot onto her boyfriend’s feet.
Detectives, in a midnight raid, swooped on a house in Nkulumane on Wednesday and arrested him following a tip-off.
Mandebvu was charged with armed robbery, rape, attempted rape, attempted robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of armed robbery, one count of rape, a count of possessing a dangerous weapon, one count of attempted rape and one count of attempted armed robbery.
Mandebvu said he stole the rifle he used in committing the crimes from a police camp in Mozambique.
He told regional magistrate Chrispen Mberewere that he raped a woman while tying her foot together with her boyfriend’s feet before robbing the couple of $2.
Passing sentence, Magistrate Mberewere bemoaned the increase in crime and said criminals like Mandebvu deserved many years in jail to deter would be offenders.
“In coming up with the sentence the court considered that Mandebvu did not waste the court’s time, but pleaded guilty to all counts. Of the 80 years, 24 have been suspended on condition of good behaviour thus you will spend 56 years in jail,” said Magistrate Mberewere.
In mitigation, Mandebvu said he was married with one child and that his wife was heavily pregnant.
“I am the sole breadwinner for my family and I kept the rifle which I stole from Mozambique intending to hunt at Hwange National Park,” he said.
Trust Muduma for the State told the court that Mandebvu met a woman who was walking with her boyfriend on February 7 at around 7pm in Nkulumane.
Mandebvu brandished the AK 47 rifle in their faces.
He force marched them into a nearby bush where he ordered the woman to tie her boyfriend legs together using his belt and hands using her hair scrunch while the boyfriend lay on his back.
He then removed a string from his pink jacket with a navy blue hood and ordered the woman to kneel down.
Mandebvu tied her left foot to her boyfriend’s feet and raped the woman once. Mandebvu went on to rob the man of his cellphone and $2.
The couple managed to untie themselves after Mandebvu left and they made a police report.
Muduma said Mandebvu approached Zenzo Hikwa from Mayenziwe Shops in Nkulumane shops at pointed the rifle at him on March 2.
He ordered Hikwa and his employees to lie face down on the floor before grabbing $26 from the till and disappeared.
On March 6 at around 8pm, Mandebvu pointed his AK47 Rifle at Talent Chibhamu and demanded a cash box from her at Bambi Lounge Store in Rangemore.
He then forced marched her out of the shop, but he fled when one of the customers gave a chase.
The court heard Mandebvu pounced on Moses Zivengwa from Tshabalala who is employed by Mcleays.
He pointed the rifle at him, his wife and other employees ordering them to move to the back of the shop while demanding cash from Trust Runyowa.
He was then given $99.70 and R170 and he went away.
Mandebvu also attempted to rape and rob two women armed with the AK 47 but was unsuccessful.