A Mozambican national caught red-handed driving a suspected stolen vehicle worth R400 000 has been fined R15 000, or could face a three-year imprisonment sentence.

The accused, Daniel Mfaziwe, aged 73, of Soweto in Gauteng but originally from Mozambique, pleaded guilty to possession of a suspected stolen Ford Ranger when he appearing in the Boschfontein Regional Court.

Before the sentencing, Magistrate Edgar Moletsane told the court that Mfaziwe’s sentence would teach would-be offender not to commit a similar crime.

“I won’t send you direct imprisonment looking at your age, but I will punish you with a R15 000 fine or three years imprisonment. Failing to pay the amount you will be sent to prison. And I am also warning you that if you can manage to raise and pay some of this money and fail to pay it up you will be rearrested and spend years in prison,” said Magistrate Moletsane.

Mfaziwe was arrested last month on May 23, when he was approaching Mzinti village about 5km towards Tonga police station.

His lawyer, Lucky Mngomezulu, told the court that his client was arrested while driving the vehicle to Mozambique on behalf of his friend who was driving behind him.

“His friend asked him to drive the vehicle to Mozambique as he wanted to take it there. He just learnt during his arrest that the vehicle was stolen, and it had been reported missing in Soweto,” he said.

Magistrate Moletsane said Mfaziwe is a taxi driver who also transports school kids from Soweto to Johannesburg between Monday to Friday.

“My client is a family man and a pensioner earning R2 500 monthly. At his age he could not be able to steal a vehicle,” said Mngomezulu.

His attorney also pleaded with the court to allow his client to pay R1 500 to be released and arrange for the balance to be paid in instalments.

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