Deceased described ATM bombing in detail

2016-04-01 12:00


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Pietermaritzburg - A self-confessed member of an ATM bombing gang in KZN gave police a detailed statement before he died, describing the gang’s activities.

The statement by Zazi Duma is one of two statements by former accomplices to the bombings — who had since died — which were admitted into evidence by Judge Yvonne Mbatha on Thursday.

The court heard Duma died of “unnatural causes” just weeks after making the statement.

The other alleged former accomplice, Wiseman Mahlobo, died last December of natural causes while he was in a witness protection programme.

Organised Crime Unit Lieutenant Mebra Nzimande told the court he had arrested Duma in Howick. After obtaining his statement the police had decided to use him as a state witness, instead of charging him as they had no other tangible evidence against other suspects.

In the statement Duma said he had asked to join the ATM bombing gang after he met two of the gang’s members at George Goch hostel in Johannesburg.

The men knew about his previous “stint in jail” and had agreed.

Duma described how members of the gang came to KZN from Johannesburg to “scout” ATMs at Nottingham Road, Howick and Merrivale to see which ones they could blow up.

They had decided to “do the Nottingham Road ATM first”.

According to the statement, the gang travelled to KZN on September 27, 2012, and drove to Impendle. One man, whose name he never got to know, had a contact from whom he was able to get explosives to supply to the gang.

While preparing for the ATM bombing Duma said he realised the gang had done this “on numerous other occasions”. When they arrived at the FNB ATM at Nottingham Road “everybody knew what to do”.

“Those with the AK47s went to the sides to give protection to the gang. [Two] men went with explosives and a crowbar to the ATM. The face plate of the ATM was bent away and the explosives were placed between the face plate and the ATM.”

Duma said two gang members pulled electric wires that were attached to the explosives over to a Ford Bantam bakkie they were using, opened the bonnet and connected the wires to the battery. “There was a huge explosion and the ATM blew up,” he said.

While the gang collected the money he had heard several shots being fired by the members whose job it was to protect them, but did not see anything, he added.

He said on that occasion each gang member received R13 000.

In the statement Duma described subsequent bombings of ATMs at Howick Spar and Merrivale Spar.

In November 2012 while he and other gang members were travelling to Underberg intent on bombing an ATM there, they encountered police.

Duma said they were about to get onto the N3 Tweedie off-ramp when he noticed a police van behind them with its blue lights flashing. “The police vehicle came behind us at high speed.”

He said their driver had accelerated and turned onto the N3. He heard gunfire at the back of the bakkie and realised that some of the gang were firing at the police who fell back but continued to follow them. He said they turned off at Midmar dam and ended up in Howick West where they “got lost” among the houses. “Whilst driving around the suburb we met the policemen again at a T-junction. The next moment the policemen started to shoot at us and [two gang members] returned fire.”

Duma said he had jumped out of the bakkie and hid while the bakkie with his accomplices fled, with police still in pursuit. He was later told one of the policemen had been killed in Howick West.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  atm  |  crime  |  court  |  bombing

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