ANC is my 'second home', and its members 'my family' - ANC man nabbed for cash heist

2018-07-19 08:05

A series of Facebook posts may shed light on the life of a little-known ANC employee who was arrested this month for his alleged involvement in a cash-in-transit heist in Soweto.

On Wednesday, it emerged that 33-year-old Errol Velile Present was among four men police nabbed for the July 4 cash-in-transit armed robbery that took place on Elias Motsoaledi Road in Soweto.

Present's apparent moonlighting has cost him his job at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, where it is understood he has worked for roughly 12 years.

The ANC announced on Wednesday it had terminated his employment and his party membership was also on the line – but was silent in official statements over why it took no action in the two weeks immediately after Present's arrest.


A picture from Errol Velile Present's Facebook appears to show colleagues and a view believed to be of buildings outside ANC headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg. (Supplied)

A LinkedIn page believed to belong to Present indicated he was a "marketing director" for the ANC. But media reports revealed he was part of a national audit committee tasked with digging into party membership irregularities nearly a decade ago.

The committee, which comprised Present, Mandla Dlamini and Mandla Twala, recommended that the ANC Western Cape provincial executive committee be dissolved due to corruption and fraud it uncovered.

Dlamini was later appointed the ANC co-ordinator and spokesperson in the Western Cape. A LinkedIn page identifies Twala as the ANC national membership co-ordinator.

Booked

Present's Facebook page showed he was an active political member of the party, even putting his name forward to be elected as chairperson of a Gauteng sub-region.

The page also holds other clues in the absence of any evidence of an exceptionally lavish lifestyle – but shows Present is deeply devoted to the ANC.

In September 2017 he wrote: "I feel blessed to have ANC as my second home and its members as my family."

Present is no stranger to controversy, however.

In February last year, the Sunday Times exposed the existence of a report by auditing firm Deloitte which detailed how Present and business partner Moses Boshomane, had been "gifted" a R97m farm in Limpopo.

The farm came their way in 2012 allegedly after intervention by former land reform minister, Gugile Nkwinti.

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

Nkwinti had allegedly introduced Present to a deputy director general in the department, Vusi Mahlangu, at a land summit. Eight months later, the deal was sealed – along with a R30m bankroll for salaries and infrastructure development for the farm.

But by March 2016 the farm Bekendvlei, was run down and 3 000 head of cattle, valued at about R18m, were gone.

Machinery had also disappeared and just five months after Present and Boshomane took over the farm, workers stopped receiving salaries.

Mahlangu was later fired for his involvement and a draft report by Deloitte, dated May 2016 recommended that Nkwinti be charged for possible corruption.

The final report did not mention the minister or his involvement, it emerged later. Nkwinti reportedly spoke at Present's lavish wedding a day after the deal was finalised.

"I work for the ANC, not for the government, and I am entitled to benefit like any other citizen of this country," Present was quoted as saying at the time.


Errol Velile Present in a Facebook picture celebrating his birthday in January 2015. (Supplied)

Mahlangu was hired by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane as chief executive in her office – sparking outrage.

The DA has referred the dodgy deal to the Public Protector for investigation.

But Present did not suffer any consequences for his involvement and continued to work for the ANC.

On September 14, last year, Present again took to Facebook.

"Let me take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me through thick and thin. I'm now a free man acquitted of all charges thanks to the Almighty and my ancestors," he wrote.

"I forgive those who prayed so hard to see me gone, those who celebrated my problems. I forgive those who went to an extent of interfering, working very hard to see me ngilele [dead, sleeping]."

It is understood this is a reference to the farm scandal.

The remainder of his posts range from the bizarre to showing an apparently happy family man and father.

"Take advantage on the chessboard. This my (sic) everyday game playing it alone in my mind. Depend on your own arms," he wrote on April 17.

Gang affair

According to well-placed police sources, Present was the first to be arrested after hijacked vehicles used in the heist were spotted at his uncle's home in Dobsonville.

The four arrested so far are among 15 suspects involved.

This included a white Ford Ranger hijacked in central Johannesburg in March this year and a silver Volvo sedan taken in January in Eden Park.

Police found blood on the rear seats of the Ranger.


Photographs from the scene show blood on the rear seat of the hijacked Ford Ranger - believed to be from one of the suspects. (Supplied)


Present led police to the home of Itumeleng Manama in Honeydew who was arrested and in turn, led police to their alleged ringleader Zakhele Zondi in Diepkloof.

Two hijacked cars, a Kia Picanto and a Peugeot 308, were recovered at Zondi's home.

The Kia was stolen in September 2016 in Meadowlands and the Peugeot in March 2017 in Greenwood. Both sported fake number plates.

The trio then led police to the fourth man – Sipho Thulani Biyela – a former employee of G4S.

All four have appeared in court on charges of armed robbery and possession of hijacked motor vehicles.

According to the police source, other potential suspects have been identified.

More concerns arise when higher scrutiny is placed on the affairs of the suspects.

The ID number Zondi provided to police for example, does not exist. Variations thereof do not link to any individual named Zondi.

Present it would appear, is a prolific businessman, holding active directorships in at least 10 companies.

The four are expected to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on July 31 for formal bail applications.

Do you have information for our investigative journalists? Send an email to tips@24.com

Read more on:    anc  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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