Former ANC employee accused of heist free for now after he is released on bail

Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present (File)
Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present (File)

Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present, and three others charged in connection with a Johannesburg cash-in-transit heist, have been granted bail in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court.

Magistrate John Baloyi granted bail to Present and co-accused Itumeleng Manama, 40, Bheki Biyela, 38, and Zakhele Zondi, 37, who appeared in a packed court on Monday morning.

Baloyi said the State did not provide tangible evidence and that witnesses who took part in an identity parade could not place any of the men at the scene of the crime.

There was no CCTV footage available and the accused's fingerprints were not found on the getaway cars, he added.

He also said a DNA blood sample found at the scene could not be linked to the any of the accused.

In addition, Baloyi said the men were not found in possession of any money and firearms.

Case 'weak and non-existent'

"The State's case can be described as weak and non-existent," Baloyi said.

He granted them bail of R4 000 each. In terms of the bail conditions, all four men must report to their nearest police stations on Mondays and Fridays between 06:00 and 18:00.

As Baloyi delivered his judgment, those in the gallery clapped their hands and rejoiced.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department's K9 Unit and Crime Intelligence arrested the men in July in connection with a Dobsonville heist in which a security guard was shot and wounded.

They have been charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder and the possession of suspected stolen vehicles.

Last week, investigating officer Colonel Solomon Mabasa told the court that Present drove and organised parking for the two hijacked vehicles used in the heist at a Capitec Bank.

The two vehicles were identified as a Volvo and a Ford Ranger.

Zondi allegedly drove the second vehicle.

Previous convictions

"There was a second vehicle, a silver-grey Volvo which was driven by Accused Number Four, Velile Present. He was accompanied by Accused Number Two, Itumeleng Manama, and Accused Number Three, Bheki Biyela," Mabasa told the court at the time.

Three of the men have previous convictions.

In 2002, Zondi, who is Present's cousin, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 11 years in prison. However, in 2009, he was released on parole after serving seven years behind bars. There are no pending cases against him.

Manama was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery in 2002 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. It is not clear how many years he served before he was released on parole.

Biyela was convicted of theft for stealing cash at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court in 2014. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was released on parole after serving two years and six months.

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