Judge stops bail of suspect Capitec Bank robber in lengthy judgment

2016-05-04 08:32
Capitec bank has partnered with the department of home affairs to beat financial fraud. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Capitec bank has partnered with the department of home affairs to beat financial fraud. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Pietermaritzburg - High court Judge Rishi Seegobin started his judgment in the trial of three men facing multiple counts arising from an attempted heist at Capitec Bank in Richmond on Tuesday by immediately cancelling the bail of one of the trio.

Sandile Shongwe (34) was the only one of the three who had been on bail throughout the trial.

His co-accused, Thulani Doncabe (40) and Siboniso Mpanza (20), have been in custody ever since their arrest on the evening of the attempted robbery at Capitec Bank on January 27, 2014.

The ensuing gun battle in the streets outside the bank and subsequent pursuit of the gang by police was compared by Judge Seegobin yesterday to “American stories of the Wild West” where bank robbers would ride into a small town and cause absolute mayhem. Judge Seegobin said when he started the judgment that it was “going to be lengthy” but said that for reasons that would become apparent he was ordering then and there that Shongwe’s bail be cancelled.

The judgment yesterday traversed the evidence led in the trial detailing the evidence of eye witnesses and victims of the shooting, as well as cellphone evidence that allegedly connects the trio to the offences they are charged with.

The charges include the murder of G4S security guard Sicelo Phungula, who was shot as he was delivering a cash box of money to Capitec Bank to replenish the ATM machines. Phungula was also robbed of his firearm by the attackers.

However, the cash box imploded and the money was stained with dye, forcing the robbers to abandon the cash.

They were pursued by police to the outskirts of Richmond and one policeman, Thamsanqa Zondi, was shot dead and his colleague, Sbonelo Mpanza, was seriously injured after their vehicle was ambushed. A number of policemen gave evidence describing the arrests of Doncabe and Mpanza, who were allegedly found hiding in a sugar cane field in the Patheni area shortly after the attempted bank heist. Both were bitten by police dogs during their arrests.

The two men denied the police version and claimed to have innocent reasons for their presence in the area.

Three other alleged gang members identified as Andile Hlongwane, Siphithemba Mtshali (also known as Bhokobokho) and Senzo Mtolo died in gun battles with police after the heist.

Judge Seegobin will continue giving judgment today.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  robbery

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