/ 19 July 2018

Axed ANC employee linked to at least 3 heists – Cele

Workers at the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters are aggrieved that the party is unable to offer them salary increases and bonuses and fear they may lose their jobs.
Workers at the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters are aggrieved that the party is unable to offer them salary increases and bonuses and fear they may lose their jobs.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced on Thursday morning that an employee at ANC headquarters Luthuli House had been linked to at least three cash-in-transit heists.

“This is almost his third cash heist, this guy. It is not the first one. Two are in the North West, plus this one (Soweto). Indeed, we have established who he is. He works for the organising department on a temporary basis at Luthuli House,” Cele said.

Errol Velile Present was one of four people arrested during a heist in Dobsonville, Soweto, earlier this month.

He appeared with his co-accused in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

News24 understands the other suspects are Zakhele Zondi, 37, Itumeleng Manama, 40, and Bheki Biyela, 36.

The four face charges of armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles.

Luthuli House taken aback

The matter was postponed until July 31 for a formal bail application.

The suspects were arrested on July 6 and 7. Four hijacked vehicles were recovered, two of which were apparently used in the heist outside the Capitec Bank on Elias Motsoaledi Road in Soweto earlier this month.

The suspects are believed to have got away in a white Ford Ranger and a silver Volvo sedan with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Cele said that Present had “jumped the court twice” on charges including drunk driving.

“He was supposed to appear in court but did not appear in court.”

Cele said the security team at Luthuli House had been “taken aback” by other matters it had discovered, but that he could not speak about these at present.

“But I am told that there have been suspicions about the guy (Present).”

R97-million ‘farm for friends’

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in statement on Wednesday afternoon that the party had served Present with a “letter of summary dismissal” following his arrest and appearance in court “on allegations of a number of heinous crimes”.

“The ANC expects from its members and employees to respect the laws of the land and not be involved in any criminal activity.

Disciplinary proceedings around Present’s party membership would be held later.

Present was previously named in a R97-million “farm for friends” scandal involving former minister of rural development and land reform Gugile Nkwinti.

In February 2017, the Sunday Times reported that Present had been introduced to a top land reform department official at a land summit organised by Nkwinti.

According to the newspaper, just eight months after the meeting, Bekendvlei farm in Limpopo was bought for R97-million and handed over to Present, who has been working at Luthuli House for more than 10 years.

It is alleged that the department official bypassed required procedures and that a day after the deal went through, Nkwinti was the speaker at Present’s lavish wedding.

At the time, Nkwinti denied the allegations, however, the details of the deal emerged in a forensic investigations report conducted by Deloitte.

The report apparently recommended that Nkwinti be charged for possible corruption. — News24