Former Luthuli House employee‚ Errol Velile Present‚ 'drove heist getaway car'
Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present has been implicated in driving a getaway car allegedly involved in a cash-in-transit heist in Soweto.
Investigating officer Colonel Solomon Mabasa told the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Tuesday – at a bail application by Present and co-accused Itumeleng Manama‚ Bheki Biyela and Zakhele Zondi – that a white Ford Ranger and a silver Volvo were used in the heist.
Mabasa also revealed that one of the men implicated in the heist in Dobsonville had violated his parole conditions.
The bail hearing heard earlier on Tuesday that two vehicles were found by police at an address in Dobsonville. It was later discovered that one‚ a Volvo‚ had been hijacked in Eden Park while the Ford Ranger had been stolen.
A day after the heist‚ police went to an address in Dobsonville where the two cars were found. Mabasa said the house where the cars were parked had high walls and a closed steel gate.
Zondi and Present had allegedly gone to the house seeking parking space and were told that the gate would be unlocked.
"The owner of the house indicated that the Ford Ranger was driven by Zondi and inside it were two black males who are known to the owner of the house‚" said Mabasa.
"There was a second vehicle‚ a silver Volvo‚ which was driven by Present and he was accompanied by Biyela and Manama‚" said Mabasa.
He added that the two vehicles were followed by a van.
"They opened the boot of the Kombi [van] and there was some activity going but the owner of the house could not see what it was they were doing‚" said Mabasa.
He said the accused had left the house‚ except for Present‚ who told the owner that he had wanted to ask for food at another house where there was a funeral.
The police found empty cartridges at the crime scene.
"The police found 12 cartridges of a 9mm pistol and seven of an AK47 assault rifle‚" said Mabasa.
The four accused were arrested in July after a heist in Dobsonville‚ Soweto. They were charged with armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles.
Mabasa also revealed that Biyela had a previous conviction involving the theft of money. He was sentenced to five years and released on parole after serving two years.
"His parole expires in November. This means that he violated his parole conditions‚" he told the court.
Mabasa cautioned that the accused‚ except for Present‚ did not have fixed addresses and could evade trial if they were released on bail.
"Manama was convicted for possession of suspected stolen property. Accused one [Zondi] was sentenced to eight years in 2002 for four counts of attempted murder and two of possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition‚" Mabasa said.
He told the court that Zondi‚ Biyela and Manama had implicated themselves in the heist case.
"We have a strong case against the accused. The vehicles that were recovered were involved in the crime scene‚" he said.
He warned that should the men be released on bail‚ they could interfere with witnesses known to them.
The court also heard that Zondi and Manama were unemployed when they were arrested. “Accused three [Biyela] was a mechanic and accused 4 [Present] was employed on a contract basis‚" said Mabasa.