7th suspect charged in connection with OR Tambo heist

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The accused in court. (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)
The accused in court. (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – The State charged a seventh suspect on Tuesday in connection with the OR Tambo heist, Netwerk24 reported. 

Philokuhle Ntanzi, 30, made his first appearance alongside two of the six suspects in the Kempton Park Regional Court on Tuesday, Netwerk24 reported.

Ntanzi, who was arrested on Sunday, did not yet have legal representation. 

In court, State prosecutor Pieter Erasmus read out a statement by Colonel Mabina Samuel Mahlangu, who is investigating the incident. 

Mahlangu said he was opposing the bail application of suspects Prince Raphael Dube, 43, and Thando Sonqishe, 39. 

All seven suspects have been charged with theft with aggravating circumstances. 

According to Mahlangu’s statement, R20.7m of Standard Bank’s money was stolen on March 7 during an armed robbery at the airport. 

Suspect earns R400 000 a month

Erasmus confirmed that the stolen money was in South African banknotes, Netwerk24 reported. 

Mahlangu said Dube and Sonqishe had admitted that they adjusted a Ford Focus and Toyota Double Cab to look like a police vehicle. 

The vehicles are believed to have been used in the robbery.

In a statement, Dube - who lives in Norkempark in Kempton Park - admitted that the vehicles were adjusted in his workshop.

Sonqishe admitted that he had provided the police lights which were used on the Focus. 

Dube is a Zimbabwean citizen with a forged South African identity document. 

"Dube will thus not be barred from leaving the country illegally," Mahlangu said in a statement. 

The gallery gasped when Dube confirmed that he earned R400 000 a month as an exhibitor. 

Previous transgressions

In his statement, Dube said he had been found guilty on two previous transgressions: one for fraud in 2003, and one for drunk driving in 2015.

Dube, Sonqishe and Ntanzi will appear with their co-accused - France Manaka, Simon Thlokwane, Sibusiso Mnisi and Mosiwa Mutame - in court on Wednesday. 

Ntanzi will possibly apply for bail with Manaka, Thlokwane and Mnisi.

The State withdrew its charge against Khulekani Sibanda on Friday. 

Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane announced on March 14 that Mutame and Sibanda had been arrested in connection with the robbery. 

Dube, Sonqishe, Manaka, Thlokwane and Mnisi were arrested two weeks ago. 

According to an earlier breakdown of the events by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), a bakkie which looked like a police vehicle, and a white vehicle with sirens and flashing blue lights, had driven into a limited access zone on March 7 around 19:23 when the robbery was committed. 

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