Man who tried to rob Western Cape MEC was 'so polite'

Albert Fritz. (Edrea du Toit, Netwerk24, file)
Albert Fritz. (Edrea du Toit, Netwerk24, file)

Cape Town - One of the men accused of robbing Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz and his colleague at gunpoint accosted the men in a "polite" manner, the Athlone Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

"Thanks, I will have that," Xolisa Baba allegedly told Western Cape government spokesperson Sihle Ngobese while taking his phone from him last month. 

He said he felt two fingers on his phone as it was pressed against his ear.

"He was so polite," said Ngobese, speaking outside the court following baba's brief appearance. He faces a charge of aggravated robbery.

Both Fritz and Ngobese were sitting in a car, waiting to speak at a youth event in Nyanga on August 12, when a man approached them, demanding they hand over their cellphones.

Crime awareness display

Ngobese said at the time he thought the approach was some sort of crime awareness display because the man had what looked like a gun pointing out of his pocket. However, when the man pulled out a knife, Ngobese said he realised they were in trouble.

Another man, Yonwaba Mantashe, approached them and pulled out a gun, firing shots at the delegation.

Fritz sought cover in the back of the vehicle, while one of the bodyguards threw a cellphone onto the ground as a distraction.

This gave him time to unholster his weapon and fire back.

"Twenty-six shots all in all were fired," said Ngobese.

He managed to pull Fritz out of the car and drove him to Nyanga police station to safety, while the bodyguards attempted to restrain the shooter.

READ: Suspect shot dead after robbing Western Cape MEC Albert Fritz

Mantashe was killed during the exchange, which left Baba injured.

During his court appearance, Baba walked slowly into the dock, looking into the gallery seemingly for a familiar face.

He abandoned his bail application and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on October 20. DNA evidence was also still outstanding, the court heard.

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