The humble criminal ANC was warned about
The ANC official linked to at least three cash-in-transit heists has a long list of charges against him, having been arrested at least eight times.
Information on the police criminal administration system (CAS) reveals that Errol Velile Present was arrested for violent crimes ranging from murder and attempted murder to armed robbery.
The CAS shows that by this month, Present (33) has been arrested for:
. Robbery-in-transit in July this year;
. Intimidation in February this year;
. Possession of an unlicensed firearm in November last year;
. Armed robbery in June last year;
. Malicious damage to property in February last year;
. Murder in November 2016;
. Reckless and negligent driving in May 2015; and
. Attempted murder in July 2013.
According to the CAS, the murder case against Present was closed in September last year after the regional court in Roodepoort found him not guilty of the charge.
After his acquittal, Present posted on his Facebook page: “Let me take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me through thick and thin. I’m now a free man, acquitted of all charges thanks to the Almighty and my ancestors. I forgive those who prayed so hard to see me gone, those who celebrated my problems. I forgive those who went to an extent of interfering, working very hard to see me ngilele [in prison].”
However, the rest of the cases are still listed as “pending” on the CAS.
At his granny's home in Dobsonville, Soweto, where Present grew up – a state-built house located behind the Dobsonville Stadium – there was no sign of luxury.
Those who knew him spoke of a quiet man who did not live a flamboyant lifestyle.
“He has moved to West Park, where he stays with his wife. We were shocked when we heard on the news that he was arrested,” said one neighbour.
Other neighbours were reluctant to speak about him.
Present is a former branch secretary of the ANC in Ward 48 in Dobsonville, during which time he is believed to have clashed with his branch chairperson, now Johannesburg ANC ward councillor Tshepo Nawane, who believed they did not share the same ANC values.
He went to the local George Khosa Secondary School. However, claims that he was a member of the Congress of SA Students during that time have been denied by prominent ANC leaders in Dobsonville.
Among his party colleagues, Present is known as a quiet person and stories recently told about him have shocked even those who previously worked closely with him.
Old colleagues spoke of how he was not flashy, driving around in a modest Polo during the 2016 municipal elections. But he did once shock those who knew him by posing half-naked for a picture during his birthday.
In Luthuli House he worked in the ANC’s influential membership office as far back as 2010.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said this week that Present was linked to at least three cash heists in Dobsonville, and was arrested along with three co-accused last month. He appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. Present and his co-accused are expected to apply for bail when they appear again on July 31.
“What we’ve established is that Present is linked to another cash heist before this. There’s another case in process of drunk driving, so we’ve established that he’s a usual lawbreaker,” Cele said.
Former police minister and ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula this week said they were warned that Present was involved in criminal activities, but the party did not take the information seriously.
Present was fired from his ANC job this week.
Last year, the Sunday Times reported that former rural development and land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti introduced Present to his senior officials at a land summit. Present and his partner, businessman Moses Boshomane‚ were beneficiaries of the Bekendvlei Farm, which the state bought for R97 million.
Nkwinti later spoke at Present’s wedding shortly after the deal was concluded.
TALK TO US
Did the ANC do the right thing by immediately firing Present?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword PRESENT and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50