The Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced Themba Nyamela, 33, to 12 years imprisonment for stealing more than R1.1 million from the South African Post Office. Serving as the acting branch manager in Cedarville near Matatiele at the time, Nyamela’s sentence was reduced by two years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence over the next five years.
Nyamela confessed to the theft charge following his dismissal from the Post Office, a result of a disciplinary hearing where he also admitted to the theft spanning three years, between 2019 to 2021. He revealed that financial difficulties and the inability to repay loans drove him to pocket the daily financial collections meant for banking. Furthermore, he attributed his actions to a gambling addiction, hoping "to score a jackpot" that would enable him to return the stolen money to the employer.
Luxolo Tyali, the National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, detailed how Nyamela’s descent was marked by the former mail delivery man’s rise through the ranks. His thefts eventually drew the attention of his superiors, who sent emails requesting him to deposit the outstanding amounts. Despite the continuous reminders, he neglected these communications until he confessed to his area manager that the funds were spent and could not be returned.
The State Advocate, Neziswa September, pushed for the stipulated minimum sentence of 15 years for theft of sums over R500,000. However, the court identified several compelling circumstances for a lenient sentence, notably Nyamela’s guilty plea and his pension being forfeited to the South African Post Office.
Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry Madolo, acknowledged and appreciated the prosecutor and investigating officer for ensuring justice was upheld in this case.
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