ANC axes Luthuli House staffer arrested for links to cash-in-transit heist

2018-07-18 14:42
ANC headquarters. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images, file)

ANC headquarters. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images, file)

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The ANC announced on Wednesday that it has fired an employee who was arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit heist.

Errol Velile Present was a staffer at the party's Luthuli House headquarters, and was one of four people arrested for a heist in Dobsonville, Soweto. 

READ: ANC heist suspect linked to Nkwinti's R97m 'farm for friends' scandal

Present appeared together with his co-accused in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.  

News24 understands the other suspects are Zakhele Zondi, 37, Itumeleng Manama, 40, and Bheki Biyela, 36. 

The four were arrested on July 6 and 7, and face charges of armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles

The matter was postponed until July 31 for a formal bail application. 

Allegations of heinous crimes

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in statement on Wednesday afternoon that the party had served Present with a "letter of summary dismissal" following his arrest and appearance in court "on allegations of a number of heinous crimes". 

"The ANC expects from its members and employees to respect the laws of the land and not be involved in any criminal activity.

"The allegations for which Mr Errol Velile Present was arrested for and the charges proffered against him are of a serious nature that the organisation had to exercise rules provided for in the ANC personnel manual, terminating his service with immediate effect."

Disciplinary proceedings around Present's membership in the party would be held later. 

"The ANC applauds the SAPS for the swift action taken to apprehend the suspects and urge responsible South Africans to cooperate and report all forms of criminality regardless of who is involved to the law enforcement agencies," Mabe said. 

'Farm for friends'

Present was previously named in a R97m "farm for friends" scandal involving former minister of rural development and land reform Gugile Nkwinti. 

In February 2017, the Sunday Times reported that Present had been introduced to a top land reform department official at a land summit organised by Nkwinti. 

According to the newspaper, just eight months after the meeting, Bekendvlei farm in Limpopo was bought for R97m and handed over to Present, who had been working at Luthuli House for more than 10 years. 

It is alleged that the department official bypassed required procedures and that a day after the deal went through, Nkwinti was the speaker at Present's lavish wedding. 

At the time, Nkwinti denied the allegations, however the details of the deal emerged in a forensic investigations report conducted by Deloitte. 

The report apparently recommended that Nkwinti be charged for possible corruption. 

'We are coming for you' 

Police Minister Bheki Cele welcomed Present's arrest, saying the law did not know "boundaries, race, occupation and affiliation". 

"The full might of the law will be felt and exercised at all times. No matter who you are, who you know or where you work, we are coming for you. An arrest of this nature is a sign of our commitment to ensuring all South Africans feel safe," Cele said. 

"It is our responsibility to uphold and enforce the law, create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa, prevent anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community." 

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