Soweto cash-in-transit heist accused stole money at previous job‚ court hears

31 August 2018 - 14:11
By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Cash-in-transit vans along Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg.
Image: Masi Losi Cash-in-transit vans along Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg.

One of the men accused of being involved in a cash-in-transit heist in Dobsonville‚ Soweto‚ has a previous conviction of theft.

Bheki Biyela‚ his co-accused Errol Velile Present - a former ANC employee - as well as Itumeleng Manama and Zakhele Zondi‚ were applying for bail in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday. 

The four accused were arrested following a heist in Dobsonville in July and accused of armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles. Four hijacked vehicles were seized by police‚ two of which were apparently used in a heist outside Capitec Bank in Elias Motsoaledi Road.

Biyela's theft conviction was revealed during cross-examination on Friday. He was sentenced to five years in jail and was released on parole after serving two years‚ the court heard.

Biyela initially refused to divulge the type of crime he had committed. When pressed‚ he told the court that he had stolen money at his previous workplace.

During his testimony earlier on Friday‚ he told the court he was innocent of the current charges and said he had no knowledge of the cars the police alleged belonged him and his co-accused.

Biyela also alleged that he was assaulted by the police during his arrest. "I was assaulted at my place of residence by a group of people. They covered my face with a towel."

Some of the people who assaulted him were wearing balaclavas‚ others had bullet-proof police vests and Johannesburg metro police vests‚ Biyela said.

He also told the court that no rights were explained to him when he was arrested and that he was only shown a paper he was required to sign.

"They took me to a place where there were four cars. I don't know the owner of the place where I was taken to."

Biyela said his incarceration has affected his livelihood. "I plead with the honourable court to release me on bail as I have a life outside prison and I promise to follow any conditions the court wishes to attach to the bail."

The bail application continues.