Witnesses: Moyo wasn’t in a cell

2012-05-16 17:25
Pretoria - Serial escapee Bongani Moyo was not in the holding cells the day he vanished after a court appearance in August 2011, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday.

This was the testimony of two of his co-accused in a robbery case, whom he called to give evidence in his defence.

Khumbulani Sibanda and Thabani Sibanda said they were put in a holding cell inside the court premises. Moyo was left sitting on a bench near the cell.

He allegedly escaped from custody by walking out of the court on crutches.

‘Aggressive’ investigating officer

Khumbulani said investigating officer Frederick Erasmus came to the holding cells asking about a "Siyaya" (a Toyota HiAce) minibus taxi which had been used to commit armed robberies.

"He was being aggressive when he was asking me and I did not like it. He started off by asking the questions to Bongani before he came to me," Khumbulani said.

"Erasmus told me that if Moyo did not give him the information (about the taxi) he was going to book him out and 'he would never return again'," Khumbulani testified.

"When Erasmus left me, that is when I realised that Bongani had left the bench. I saw that immediately afterwards," said Khumbulani.

Thabani Sibanda said he saw Erasmus talking to Moyo outside the cell. He said he overheard the conversation when Erasmus came to the cell to talk to Khumbulani.

"He said if Moyo did not divulge the information, he was going to kill him. I told Moyo what I had heard from the discussion."

Threat

Asked by prosecutor Werner Gibson why he had not "screamed for help", considering Moyo's life was in danger, Thabani said he wanted Moyo to act.

"I only informed him. He could go and report to other policemen, since he was not in the cell," Thabani responded.

"After informing him, I went to smoke and did not see how he had left the place," said Thabani.

Moyo testified last month that he escaped from the court because Erasmus threatened to kill him.

"I got up from the bench, opened the door and walked through court 16 and out of the building," the Zimbabwean said.

Erasmus denied Moyo's allegations when he testified in March.

"That is a total, utter lie," Erasmus told the court.

Magistrate Len Muller postponed the matter to June 19 for arguments and judgment.

More charges

Earlier on Wednesday, Moyo, Leon Ncube and the two Sibandas appeared in another courtroom at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on a series of armed robbery charges.

The four confirmed to the court they had received documents informing them of the transfer of the trial to the North Gauteng High Court.

Magistrate Maryke de la Rey informed the four that their case had been formally moved to the superior court, and set down for March 11 to 28 next year.

Moyo, Khumbulani Sibanda and Ncube face another charge of attempting to escape from Pretoria Central Prison earlier this year, using prison overalls to scale the perimeter wall. The bid for freedom was botched when a street vendor spotted the trio jumping from the roof of the double-storey prison building and alerted prison warders.

In March last year, Moyo escaped from the Boksburg prison where he was detained for bank robberies. He was re-captured at the Beitbridge border post almost three months later when he re-entered South African from Zimbabwe.

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