Alleged criminal 'enterprise' in court for bank follow-home robberies

2019-10-16 07:06
ATM card slot. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

ATM card slot. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg is set to hear more details of how five men accused of racketeering allegedly ran a sophisticated syndicate that robbed scores of people in Gauteng and Limpopo of almost R1m after following them home from banks and ATMs.

Vusimuzi Jomo Mazibuko, 40, Xolani Comfort Mkhwanazi, 32, Shaun Khumalo, 25, Vusi David Sibanyoni, 41, Sticks Nkuna Bhova, 46, and Calvin Congo Mabunda are on trial for allegedly running a criminal enterprise.

It is alleged the group worked in an organised manner with a bank employee whom they paid to tip them off when customers made large withdrawals.

READ | Another Cape crime syndicate? Six robberies in six months for cellphone stores

The targets would then be followed from the banks before being assaulted and robbed of their money and other possessions at gunpoint.

In one incident, a victim was shot dead in his driveway.

According to the indictment, they face, among others, charges of murder, racketeering, corruption, robbery, theft as well as the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. The State claims they have been linked to the crimes committed between 2011 to 2017.

The five men are from Soweto and Braamfischerville in Gauteng, and Giyani in Limpopo.

The State is expected to lead evidence from more than 120 witnesses in the case. The witnesses, many of whom are victims, are from Johannesburg and others from Limpopo.

READ | Life in jail for syndicate found guilty of robbing 11 banks

The crimes

On August 13, 2013, a Randfontein couple were victims of the syndicate when they withdrew R12 000 from a teller at an Absa branch in Randfontein. 

Mazibuko, along with another member, allegedly entered the bank and observed the couple withdrawing the cash. While the two were inside the bank, Mkhwanazi and Bhova were outside waiting in a vehicle.

The group then followed the couple to their home in Helikonpark, where they robbed them of the cash before shooting the husband in the head.

He died on the scene.

In another incident on January 26, 2015, the syndicate used the same modus operandi at another Absa branch - this time in Southdale - where a man who withdrew R200 000 was robbed of the cash along with his cellphones and the BMW X3 he was driving.

Khumalo worked as a teller at the Southdale Absa branch at the time and allegedly informed the syndicate about cash withdrawals. The State claims he was paid R10 000 for the information.

Another couple was also robbed on the R82 to Vanderbijlpark on November 21, 2015, after withdrawing R45 000 at a Nedbank in Southgate.

In Giyani, another complainant withdrew R31 000 from Nedbank before he was robbed a couple of hours later.

In the same town, another victim was robbed of more than R248 000 after withdrawing the money from FNB on November 6, 2017.

Another victim had been sent by his employer, Spar, to withdraw R20 000 from a Nedbank in Giyani on January 6, 2018. 

While walking back to the Spar, Mkhwanazi, Bhova and Mabunda allegedly pounced on him.  Bhova was later arrested for his role in the robbery.

Mazibuko, Khumalo and Bhova are out on bail while their co-accused remain in custody. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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