Former ANC employee Velile Present drove hijacked getaway vehicle, court hears

The bail application of former Luthuli House employee Errol Velile Present has been postponed in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court until Thursday. 

On Tuesday the court heard that Present drove and organised parking for the two hijacked vehicles that were used in a cash heist at a Capitec Bank in Dobsonville, Soweto.

The two vehicles were identified as a Volvo and a Ford Ranger and were used as getaway cars for Present and his co-accused, Itumeleng Manama, Bheki Biyela and Zakhele Zondi, in the heist in which they allegedly fled with an estimated R200 000 in cash.

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Investigating officer Colonel Solomon Mabasa explained in his cross-examination how Present drove himself and his co-accused in one of the vehicles.

Accused number 1, Zondi, drove the second vehicle.  

"There was a second vehicle, a silver-grey Volvo which was driven by accused number 4, Velile Present. He was accompanied by accused number 2, Itumeleng Manama, and accused number 3, Bheki Biyela," Mabasa told the court.

Car hidden at neighbour's

Present and his co-accused were arrested in July in connection with the Dobsonville cash heist and face charges of armed robbery, possession of a hijacked motor vehicle and attempted murder.

Mabasa in his evidence explained how Present, along with Zondi, approached the State witness a day before the heist to organise parking at a house next door with a large steel gate to conceal the car.

"The vehicles were concealed inside a yard at 8753 Thobejane Street, Ext3 in Dobsonville, Soweto. When the police arrived, the owner then explained that the person who requested parking in his yard was his neighbour," Mabasa testified.

"The neighbour who was identified as Kenny Diratsagae explained to the police that Present on the 4th of July 2018 was the one who approached him and requested parking space for the two vehicles," Mabasa continued.

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It was later revealed in Mabasa's testimony that Diratsagae is Present's uncle.

Present has no previous convictions. He only has a warrant of arrest in his name for failing to appear before the Orlando Magistrate's Court for reckless driving. His co-accused, however, all have previous convictions.

"This is a serious crime that carries a heavy sentence and is of a national concern and therefore all four of the accused before the court should not be granted bail," Mabasa concluded.