Heist: no bail for man

2015-11-27 11:15


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Pietermaritzburg - A Zimbabwean man, Herman Thuthani Ndlovu (38), who has been charged with participating in a slick cash-in-transit heist of foreign currency in the city, was denied bail here on Thursday.

Ndlovu, who owns two businesses in Gauteng, is charged with robbing a Brinks SA armoured vehicle of R16,3 million in foreign currency on May 28 this year near the Pietermaritzburg airport.

Ndlovu, a widower and father of five children, said in an affidavit that he owns Thuthani Transport Pty Ltd and Classic Hair Salon, from which he draws a salary of around R50 000 per month.

He listed assets valued at around R1 million, but also acknowledged debts of about the same amount.

He said he intends pleading not guilty at his trial.

Ndlovu has been in custody since his arrest on October 14.

He is the first known suspect to have been arrested and charged by police with the robbery that made headlines. The Brinks SA vehicle, with three security officials, was rammed by a Toyota Fortuner as it drove along Oribi Road, forcing it to a halt.

Warrant Officer Nelson Naicker of the Organised Crime Investigation Unit said on affidavit several heavily armed gunmen, some with AK47s, ran to the armoured vehicle and two assailants used a pick and hammer to break the armoured glass of the rear right door.

The attackers poured petrol onto the armoured vehicle and threatened to burn it if the security officers didn’t open the doors.

After the armoured glass was penetrated, and in response to the threats, the doors were opened and bags with money removed from the rear seat.

Naicker said the security guards were made to lie on the road and the driver was assaulted.

Petrol was poured onto one of the officers, and another suffered injuries to his neck when the vehicle was rammed.

After removing the guards’ firearms and cellphones the assailants fled with the cash in a red VW Golf and white Ford Focus ST, which were later found abandoned in Bisley.

Naicker said the stolen bags contained R16,3 million in various denominations of foreign currency.

He told the court the state has a strong case against Ndlovu and said an accomplice, who has turned state witness, will testify about Ndlovu’s involvement in the robbery.

He said Ndlovu is also placed at the scene of the crime by cellphone records, as well as data from his vehicle’s tracker system.

Several suspects are still on the run from police.

The court was told that Home Affairs is busy investigating an allegation that Ndlovu fraudulently obtained a South African identity document. According to evidence by a Home Affairs official, he possesses two SA identity documents with different identity numbers, which is illegal, and he could be deported.

However, Magistrate M. Boikhutso said she would ignore this issue when considering bail as Ndlovu has not yet been charged over this allegation.

She said, however, that he had not discharged the legal onus resting on him due to the seriousness of the charge, to prove that his release on bail was in the interests of justice.

She said as a businessman he has resources and, based on his own evidence, has travelled in and out of South Africa.

“If he decides to travel outside SA, to say Botswana, it will be very difficult to trace him and bring him back if he runs away,” she said.

The case was postponed to January 28 next year.

Ndlovu’s attorney, Subhash Maikoo, told The Witness after the verdict that they will “definitely” appeal the magistrate’s decision to deny his client bail.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court  |  bail

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