“I’ve been found guilty because I’m a foreigner”

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An alleged member of the so-called Range Rover hijacking Syndicate that followed unsuspecting people from the airport to their homes before robbing them of their belongings has been sentenced to 58-years in prison in the High Court in Johannesburg. Wanda Masilela later told SABC News that he was innocent and that he was never involved in the incident.

Masilela was convicted of the murder of Johannesburg advocate Mandla Zulu who was killed during a hijacking incident in Bryanston north of Johannesburg in May last year.

Masilela and his gang hijacked Zulu and his wife who were travelling in their Range Rover.  As Zulu tried to reverse the car he was shot through the door. The robbers drove with the Zulu’s for a while before dropping them off in Lonehill.

Zulu died in hospital from a gunshot wound.  On Friday the High court in Johannesburg sentenced Wanda Masilela to 58-years in prison.

Masile held his face and cried uncontrollably as the judge handed down the sentence. Masilela who is Zimbabwean, says he was targeted because he is a foreign national.

“The only thing that I can say for now is that the court is sentencing me just because I’m not a south African. Because when u looking back at the facts, I submitted myself at the police station, there was nothing in my possession but now you from the news can hear that I’ve been convicted of a firearm yet there was nothing found in my possession. I don’t accept it at all. I don’t accept it because I don’t understand. That’s why I’m saying I’ve been found guilty because I’m a foreigner. That’s all I can say for now,” says Masilela.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reflected that Masilela was an alleged member of the O.R Tambo heist gang. This has since been corrected, as Masilela is alleged to have been a member of the Range Rover hijacking syndicate.