Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present, and three others charged in connection with a Johannesburg cash-in-transit heist, have been granted bail in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court.
Magistrate John Baloyi granted bail to Present and Itumeleng Manama, 40, Bheki Biyela, 38, and Zakhele Zondi, 37, who appeared in a packed court on Monday morning.
Baloyi said the State did not provide tangible evidence, and said witnesses who took part in an identity parade could not place any of the men at the scene of the crime.
He said there was no CCTV footage available, and that fingerprints from the men weren’t found on the getaway cars.
He also said a DNA blood sample that was found at the scene could not be linked to the any of the accused.
Baloyi said the men were also not found in possession of any money and firearms.
Case ‘weak and non-existent’
“The State’s case can be described as weak and non-existent,” Baloyi said.
He granted them bail of R4 000 each. The conditions include that all four must report to their nearest police stations on Mondays and Fridays between 06:00 and 18:00.
As Baloyi delivered his judgment, those in the gallery clapped their hands and rejoiced.
The four men were arrested in July by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s K9 Unit and Crime Intelligence, in connection with a Dobsonville heist in which a security guard was shot and wounded.
They are facing charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and the possession of suspected stolen vehicles.
Last week, investigating officer Colonel Solomon Mabasa told the court that Present drove and organised parking for the two hijacked vehicles that were used in the heist at a Capitec Bank.
The two vehicles were identified as a Volvo and a Ford Ranger.
Zondi apparently drove the second vehicle.
“There was a second vehicle, a silver-grey Volvo which was driven by accused number four, Velile Present. He was accompanied by accused number two, Itumeleng Manama, and accused number three, Bheki Biyela,” Mabasa told the court at the time.
Three of the men have previous convictions against them.
In 2002, Zondi, who is the cousin of Present, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
However, in 2009, he was released on parole after serving seven years behind bars. There are no pending cases against him.
Manama was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery in 2002 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. It is not clear how many years he served before he was released on parole.
Biyela was convicted of theft for stealing cash by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court in 2014. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but was released on parole after serving two years and six months. — News 24