Alleged gang member tries for bail again

2013-10-07 00:00

AN alleged member of the so-called “five- minute gang” housebreaking syndicate who was refused bail earlier this year, is again seeking release on new grounds in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate Celumusa Zungu said she will give her ruling on the application by Cebo Madyibi today.

Madyibi’s two co-accused in the case, Sihle Msomi and Sifiso Hadebe, were granted bail of R10 000 each by Zungu in May this year.

Zungu ruled in the initial bail hearing that Madyibi was a flight risk and that there was evidence suggesting that he was a central figure in the alleged housebreaking synidcate. Unlike his co-accused, he also has previous convictions for theft and assault.

The state alleges that the trio were part of a housebreaking syndicate operating from Durban.

According to evidence at the first bail hearing, the gang used rental cars that they changed regularly to give police the slip.

Cellphone evidence allegedly suggested the men were linked to housebreakings across KZN.

On the day of their arrest, April 25 this year, two houses were broken into at Town Hill and Lincoln Meade in Pietermaritzburg. The accused were caught an hour later on the N3 near Cato Ridge in a Fiat Punto, in which police recovered all the goods stolen during the two burglaries, including flat-screen televisions and other electronic goods. They also found a crowbar, gloves and bolt cutters in the vehicle.

Madyibi’s lawyer, Ashraf Mohamed, urged Zungu on Friday to reconsider her earlier refusal to grant Madyibi bail based on alleged “new” facts in the matter.

However, state prosecutor Sharleen Haggard argued that there are no new facts and said the fact that Madyibi now faces two additionl charges to the original counts will increase the risk that he won’t stand his trial.

He has been charged with a further count of housebreaking and theft and another of housebreaking and robbery, in addition to the original two charges of housebreaking and theft.

The new fact on which Madyibi relied was that after the first bail application it emerged that the investigating officer has an affidavit from Madyibi’s uncle offering Madyibi a place to stay at his residence in Umlazi if he is released from custody.

Madyibi said during the earlier bail hearing there was “confusion” about where he was living, which had arisen because he has five children with four women, and was living with his girlfriend in Newlands West.

His family home is in Umlazi.

Madyibi said if given bail he would stay with his uncle enabling the investigating officer to regularly monitor his movements and “presence in the country”.

He would also adhere to any other conditions ordered by the court, including house arrest.

Madyibi said he does not have a passport and would not apply for one pending his trial.

Madyibi said he has co-operated fully with the police investigation in the case, including identification parades. He has now been in custody for five months.

He said his children have been “traumatised” by his incarceration. He would not abandon them or his business and family ties, which are all in South Africa.

Investigating officer Willem de Wet testified on Friday that, apart from Madyibi being a flight risk, his main concern in the case was the protection of witnesses. He said Madyibi knows who the complainants in the cases are and where they stay.

De Wet said the offer of accommodation by Madyibi’s uncle had already been made during the earlier bail hearing.

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