False 'King of Bling' hits court
Tale of two armed robbers - both named William Mbatha
THERE was excitement at the Johannesburg High Court this week when it was thought that William "King of Bling" Mbatha, who is serving a 35-year jail term for a litany of charges, was appealing his sentence.
However, when it turned out that it was not the Pretoria armed robber with a penchant for flashy cars, lavish parties and expensive clothes, the media and the public were disappointed.
The man who appeared before Judge Kathleen Satchwell at Court 2F was another William Mbatha, middle name "Themba", who is serving 59 years for armed robbery.
Themba, from Thokoza in Ekurhuleni, was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
He was one of the gang that robbed a Fidelity Security vehicle in Westonaria on December 20 2006.
Security guard Moses Sehlolo and one robber, Pato Khoza, were killed during the robbery.
The court found in 2010 that Themba and others had rammed their Mercedes-Benz sedan into a Fidelity van transporting cash, causing it to overturn.
Eight other people were involved in the robbery, but there was no evidence linking them to the crime. Themba was the only one convicted for the crime.
Themba was granted leave to appeal the judgment and sentence.
Satchwell said: "I am convinced that a different court may come to a different conclusion."
Meanwhile, the King of Bling was found guilty of numerous crimes, including robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, possession of firearms and ammunition, posing as a police officer and unlawfully wearing a police uniform.
He was convicted of leading a "blue-light" gang that terrorised businessmen in Johannesburg in 2009.
During the King of Bling's trial, two businessmen testified how they were followed home and then had plastic bags placed over their heads until they surrendered thousands of rand in cash, watches and computers.