Former Luthuli House employee and 3 others in court for cash heist case

Former Luthuli House employee Errol Velile Present and three co-accused, charged in connection with a cash-in-transit heist, made their last court appearance for 2018 in the Roodepoort Regional Court on Thursday.

Wearing formal suits, Present, 33, Itumeleng Manama, 40, Bheki Biyela, 38, and Zakhele Zondi, 37, briefly stood in the dock before Magistrate Delise Smith.

The four men were told that they would not have to return to court for more than two months.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department's K9 Unit and Crime Intelligence arrested the men in July in connection with the heist in Dobsonville, Soweto. A security guard was injured during the incident.

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The accused face charges of armed robbery, possession of a hijacked motor vehicle and attempted murder.

The men were each released on R4 000 bail on September 17.

During the bail application, the court heard that Present drove and organised parking for two hijacked vehicles used in a heist at Capitec Bank in Dobsonville. 

Investigating officer Colonel Solomon Mabasa told the court that Present drove a Volvo together with Manama and Biyela, while Zondi drove a Ford Ranger.

Mabasa also explained that Present and Zondi approached someone a day before the heist to organise parking at a house in order to conceal the cars.

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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, according to Mabasa.

The neighbour, who was identified as Kenny Diratsagae explained to the police that it was Present who approached him and requested parking space for the two vehicles.

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

Present has no previous convictions. However, there is a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear before the Orlando Magistrate's Court for reckless driving. His co-accused, however, all have previous convictions.

The men's next court appearance is on February 21, 2019.