ATM bombers appear in court

2013-06-14 23:00

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Johannesburg - Ten men accused of being part of an ATM bombing syndicate, which caused three deaths, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Friday.

The matter was postponed to 24 June, when Magistrate Kevin Leat will make a ruling in their bail application.

The men are Thembele Ngubane, Menziwa Mlakuze, Sifiso Malakane, Sifiso Khubeka, Sibusiso Msibi, Sphelelo Dubasane, all from Bergville; Siphiwe Madsuku, of Ladysmith; and Mathibane Buthelezi, Mthemgubo Buthelezi and Lungisani Dladla, all from Mtubatuba.

Prosecutor Dorian Paver opposed bail, contending that even though all of them might not have participated in the bombing, they were bound by a common purpose.

The men had applied for bail through affidavits, ruling out any form of cross-examination.

Paver said that in the affidavits, they merely denied committing the crimes they were accused of, which was not a good enough reason for them to be granted bail.

He said two of the men's accomplices would testify for the State and there would be evidence that the bombers made calls to one another close to and during ATM bombings.

Under tight security

The men were kept under tight security during their appearance.

They are charged with murder, eight counts of attempted murder, three of aggravated robbery, eight of malicious damage to property, possession of illegal explosives, firearms and ammunitions, and theft.

The syndicate allegedly committed four ATM bombings in Howick between September and November, stealing amounts of R214 280, R241 000, R153 750, and R342 000.

It also allegedly carried out a bombing in Greytown, in which R500 000 was stolen in December, and another the same month in Utrecht, where R1.9m was stolen.

The police seized weapons allegedly belonging to the syndicate at Jozini in Zululand.

Replying to a defence submission that the men were not flight risks, Paver said several of the charges carried life sentences, which was a motivation to flee.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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