No bail for gang accused

2008-08-14 00:00

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Sello Maboee yesterday refused bail to two men who are suspected members of the so-called “five-minute gang” responsible for terrorising the city’s upmarket suburbs between February and May 31 this year.

Maboee said after listening “carefully and attentively” to all the evidence, he was unable to find that Jabulani Radebe (35) and Ntokozo Majola (32), both of kwaMashu, had showed that their release is in the interests of justice.

Majola’s and Radebe’s two co-accused — Sibongiseni Zwane (31) and Mdeni Vilakazi (25) — decided in the wake of the ruling to reserve their right to apply for bail at a later stage. The case was postponed until October 14.

The four are charged with housebreaking and theft of jewellery worth R45 000 from the home of advocate V. Moodley at Kelly Place, Montrose, and attempted housebreaking at the home of Dr M. Howard in Valbridge Road, Chase Valley, on May 31.

The four accused were arrested after Majola’s dark-green BMW X5 collided with a Chubb security vehicle, allegedly en route to the Chase Valley break-in.

The court heard that police recovered a crowbar and heavy hammer from the vehicle, as well as watches stolen from Moodley.

The car had false registration plates and Radebe’s fingerprint was found on the rear plate.

Police dogs were used to make the arrests and Majola was shot and injured.

Investigating officer Inspector Riaan van Rooyen testified that since the accused were arrested the burglaries have stopped.

Maboee said he is mindful of numerous high court decisions to which he has been referred by both teams and the fact that the accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Maboee found, in a judgment that lasted more than an hour, that Majola tried to mislead the court into believing that he had not been issued with a valid passport, when he in fact has a passport valid until 2015.

A copy of the document was produced by the state.

Maboee also said he could not “close his eyes” to profiles of the accused produced by the police.

It was argued on behalf of the accused that the lists of other charges they have faced are no longer relevant as those cases were withdrawn. However, looking at the profiles something of interest “cropped up”, he said.

Maboee noted that both accused were implicated together in a number of the cases in Durban, in connection with which the investigating officer was not able to find the dockets.

Van Rooyen also testified that the police are intending to reinstate charges against the accused and 18 others on charges of conspiring to rob Coin Security, possession of assault rifles and ammunition and stolen property. It was common cause that the charges were withdrawn pending DNA results.

Maboee referred to similarities between a housebreaking and theft case in which Majola and Radebe are charged in Hillcrest and the Pietermaritzburg cases.

In the Hillcrest case, as well as these matters, the alleged perpetrators used high-powered vehicles. In both cases, police used firearms to apprehend the suspects. In each case, stolen items were recovered from the suspects’ car and in both instances hammers were found in the vehicles, he said.

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